radical

adjective
rad·​i·​cal | \ ˈra-di-kəl How to pronounce radical (audio) \

Definition of radical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or proceeding from a root: such as
a(1) : of or growing from the root of a plant radical tubers
(2) : growing from the base of a stem, from a rootlike stem, or from a stem that does not rise above the ground radical leaves
b : of, relating to, or constituting a linguistic root
c : of or relating to a mathematical root
d : designed to remove the root of a disease or all diseased and potentially diseased tissue radical surgery radical mastectomy
2 : of or relating to the origin : fundamental
3a : very different from the usual or traditional : extreme
b : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
c : associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change
d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs the radical right
4 slang : excellent, cool

radical

noun

Definition of radical (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a root part
b : a basic principle : foundation
b : a sound or letter belonging to a radical
3 : one who is radical
4 : free radical also : a group of atoms bonded together that is considered an entity in various kinds of reactions or as a subunit of a larger molecule
5a : a mathematical expression indicating a root by means of a radical sign

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Other Words from radical

Adjective

radicalness noun

Examples of radical in a Sentence

Adjective

The computer has introduced radical innovations. There are some radical differences between the two proposals. The new president has made some radical changes to the company. a radical wing of extremists

Noun

He was a radical when he was young, but now he's much more moderate. radicals staged large, violent protests in the hopes of toppling the government
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some parents and coaches pushed back at the proposal, which at the time was radical. Mark Hyman, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Children, tackle football and possible dangers of brain diseases," 25 Aug. 2019 For most people, the idea that microorganisms can qualify as meat is radical. Paige Embry, Scientific American, "Surprise: Bees Need Meat," 23 Aug. 2019 But Republicans have argued that the plan is too radical and would drive the economy off a cliff and lead to a huge tax increase. Kathleen Ronayne And Juana Summers, chicagotribune.com, "$16 trillion Bernie Sanders climate plan builds on the Green New Deal," 22 Aug. 2019 Similarly, Meghan and Harry can never truly be radical in their activism because a political agenda is at odds with a position in the royal family. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Could Fly Commercial—But It Won't Stop the Backlash," 22 Aug. 2019 The failure of Democrats to censure either Omar or Tlaib after their anti-Semitic tweets and statements symbolized the unexpected, intimidating influence of the radical wing of the party. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Banning Omar and Tlaib May Help Trump, but It Hurts Israel," 16 Aug. 2019 Dean Smith is understandably keen on implementing new players into the side in his first summer window but such radical squad upheavals while entering a new league have been known to backfire. SI.com, "The Biggest Challenges Facing the Premier League's Newest Managers This Season," 16 Aug. 2019 The Yippies, radical prankster Abbie Hoffman and satirist Paul Krassner’s attempt to amalgamate the two, were always more of a stunt than a movement. Tom Carson, Los Angeles Times, "Woodstock glorified them. Tarantino barbecued them. In 2019, whither the hippie?," 15 Aug. 2019 Republicans seized on the meltdown of Hickenlooper’s campaign as evidence the Democratic Party has become too radical. Time, "John Hickenlooper Ends 2020 Presidential Campaign," 15 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This perception of influence gives radicals a sense of momentum and energy. David French, Time, "My Fellow Republicans Must Stand Against the Alt-Right Virus Infecting America," 8 Aug. 2019 Rising radicals Radical longevity—also called life extension or anti-aging science—is in the midst of a massive shift. Zoltan Istvan, Quartz, "Rich people shouldn’t be the only ones who get to live forever," 29 July 2019 One of Krassner’s pranks alienated some of his closest fellow radicals. Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times, "Paul Krassner, counterculture satirist who coined the term ‘Yippie,’ dies at 87," 21 July 2019 But on the other hand, her parents were political radicals who named her in honor of a colleague murdered by the state and spent a decade in hiding organizing against the military regime. Kenneth Turan, latimes.com, "Review: ‘The Edge of Democracy’ is an edge-of-your-seat dive into Brazilian politics," 18 June 2019 Drawing on Marxist analysis, the radicals were distinct from the liberal wing of the movement for having ready theories of how violence and the tacit threat of violence enforces supposedly natural gender roles. Elaine Blair, The New York Review of Books, "Fighting for Her Life," 17 June 2019 In the February 22, 1966, edition of National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. decried a widespread political confusion among American Catholics that had led to the public ascendance of such bumbling radicals as the Jesuit Daniel Berrigan. Declan Leary, National Review, "Catholics vs. Libertarians in the 1960s," 11 June 2019 The death toll from the bombings—the work of Islamist radicals—exceeded 250. Saeed Shah, WSJ, "Sri Lanka Bombings Threaten Long-Term Damage to the Economy," 9 May 2019 From the results of our survey, the danger that the West will be flooded by Syrian radicals appears grossly exaggerated. Arie Kruglanski, The Conversation, "Are Syrian refugees a danger to the West?," 19 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'radical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of radical

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for radical

Adjective

Middle English, from Late Latin radicalis, from Latin radic-, radix root — more at root

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Statistics for radical

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for radical

The first known use of radical was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for radical

radical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of radical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary
: very basic and important
: having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people

radical

noun

English Language Learners Definition of radical (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who favors extreme changes in government : a person who has radical political opinions

radical

adjective
rad·​i·​cal | \ ˈra-di-kəl How to pronounce radical (audio) \

Kids Definition of radical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : very new and different from the usual or ordinary : extreme a radical change
2 : of or relating to people who favor rapid and sweeping changes in laws and government

Other Words from radical

radically adverb

radical

noun

Kids Definition of radical (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who favors rapid and sweeping changes especially in laws and government

radical

adjective
rad·​i·​cal | \ ˈrad-i-kəl How to pronounce radical (audio) \

Medical Definition of radical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : designed to remove the root of a disease or all diseased tissue radical surgery
2 : involving complete removal of an organ radical prostatectomy — compare conservative

Other Words from radical

radically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce radically (audio) \ adverb

radical

noun

Medical Definition of radical (Entry 2 of 2)

: free radical also : a group of atoms bonded together that is considered an entity in various kinds of reactions

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Comments on radical

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