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

With Friday’s rejection of the deal Mrs. May negotiated with the EU for Britain’s orderly departure, Brexit outcomes that once seemed radical become more likely. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "May’s Brexit Deal Is Rejected for a Third Time by Lawmakers," 29 Mar. 2019 The stripping and removal of paint is a pretty radical—and arduous—task. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Safely Remove Paint," 25 Jan. 2019 What makes some people radical and prone to taking extreme views on topics? John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Political radicals don’t evaluate their own errors—about anything," 21 Dec. 2018 Cherdonna used Ibsen’s questions, which were radical for his time, and used them to ask new ones about gender, storytelling and what kind of theater gets seen in what kinds of places. Brendan Kiley, The Seattle Times, "She’s baaaack: Nora makes an ambivalent return in ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ at Seattle Rep," 25 Mar. 2019 But industry support for the radical new technology hasn’t been fast in coming. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "RTX on GTX: Nvidia is enabling ray tracing on some GeForce GTX graphics cards," 18 Mar. 2019 For my opponent and the Republican Party of Florida, my very existence was radical. Azmia Magane, Teen Vogue, "5 Questions for Anna Eskamani, the First Iranian-American Elected to the Florida Legislature," 8 Nov. 2018 But building inside crowded cities raises its own challenges and has prompted some radical proposals amid a deepening housing shortage. Scott Wilson, The Seattle Times, "Once flat and wide on the frontier, Western cityscapes are now rising tall and sleek," 4 Feb. 2019 Like the young everywhere, they are excited by radical proposals as long as somebody else is paying. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "High Tax Rates Aren’t Optimal," 8 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Coming after a series of terrorist attacks in France by Islamist radicals, the crash spurred worries that one of them had exploited a security flaw at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and slipped a bomb on the plane. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "French Investigators, Countering Egypt, Say Fire Likely Caused EgyptAir Crash," 7 July 2018 Turns out there are rewards for not yielding to campus radicals. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "It Pays to Be A Wyoming Cowboy," 8 Mar. 2019 The wildly popular character of Tabby — an anarcho-communist trans cat-girl who sports an ANTIFA patch and wields a baseball bat to smash capitalism — began life as a caricature of radicals that Wynn felt weren’t strategically minded enough. Katherine Cross, The Verge, "The Oscar Wilde of YouTube fights the alt-right with decadence and seduction," 24 Aug. 2018 Like Mr Cocker, who cites 19th-century radicals such as William Hazlitt and William Cobbett, its exponents tend to be left-leaning. The Economist, "Brexit is reverberating in British literature," 5 July 2018 But in recent years, terrorism has returned—though without the frequency of the early 2000s—as Islamic State has inspired a new generation of radicals. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Indonesia to Grant Early Release to Radical Islamic Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir," 18 Jan. 2019 Why does the traditional left-right self-identification scale fail to distinguish moderates from radicals? Matthijs Rooduijn, Washington Post, "It’s radicals, not centrists, who are really more hostile to democracy," 12 June 2018 Some also turned to international terrorism and helped radicals in Europe. The Economist, "Syrian refugees could turn into the new Palestinians," 30 June 2018 The group organized or inspired a spate of attacks on French soil, including the November 2015 massacre of 130 people in Paris, and its Syrian presence was a common destination for Islamist radicals from France. Sam Schechner, WSJ, "French Police Hunt for Gunman in Strasbourg Attack," 12 Dec. 2018

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

15 Apr 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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