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 Pharmaceutical sales leaders adapting through radical change in 2020. Kevin Kruse, Forbes, "Great Leadership Is An Evolution," 27 Apr. 2021 For the first time ever, this year's nominees were overwhelmingly seen in the home during a pandemic year that forced theaters to close and prompted radical change in Hollywood. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, "'Nomadland' wins best picture at a social distanced Oscars," 26 Apr. 2021 But for others, stasis is the problem, and the only solution is radical change. New York Times, "Welcome to the YOLO Economy," 21 Apr. 2021 In the context of a deeply flawed criminal justice system, radical change is at once totally possible and extremely difficult. Judy Berman, Time, "PBS's Fascinating Philly D.A. Poses a Crucial, Timely Question: Can Our Broken Criminal Justice System Really Be Fixed?," 20 Apr. 2021 Some critics complain that the city is neglecting basic steps to help protect residents while talking up radical change. Emily Alpert Reyes Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. hasn’t launched new inspections for oil sites years after council backed plan," 20 Apr. 2021 Indeed, modern American history is replete with instances of radical change to the system. Kofi Ampaabeng, Fortune, "How to make the health care system fairer for young people," 13 Apr. 2021 Their discussion centered on just how much radical change a president could jam through in a short time frame. John Fund, National Review, "Biden Aims to Outshine Obama as a Progressive Reformer," 4 Apr. 2021 That means that the United States of America, unless some radical cultural change or religious revival occurs, is on the precipice of splitting. Arkansas Online, "Letters," 3 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The ex-Berkeley radical was about to experience another epiphany—this time within the erstwhile tolerant, big-tent conservative movement. Ronald Radosh, The New Republic, "Our Friend, the Trump Propagandist," 5 May 2021 Luckily, the Conductor has a woman on the inside: a Grisha named Nina (Danielle Galligan), who is a heartrender and a radical who doesn't believe that all Grisha should be made to serve the Ravkan king. Olivia Truffaut-wong, refinery29.com, "R29 Recaps: Every Episode From Shadow and Bone Season 1," 27 Apr. 2021 In tracing Nahr’s journey, Abulhawa challenges that assumption, upending our image of the Palestinian radical. Rozina Ali, The New Yorker, "Rewriting the Story of the Palestinian Radical," 14 Apr. 2021 The mother, played by Vera Farmiga, is a secret radical who sees humanity as a virus and the monsters as a fever that must wipe out the threat to restore balance to the planet. Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture, "My Heart Belongs to the MonsterVerse," 7 Apr. 2021 An Islamic radical in his 20s killed 49 people and wounded 53 others during a shooting spree at the popular gay dance club and bar before dying in a shootout with police. Eric Zorn, chicagotribune.com, "Column: As we process Boulder and Atlanta, remember the Pulse nightclub massacre. Sometimes we get it wrong.," 25 Mar. 2021 My grandpa didn’t seem like much of a radical to me. Molly Jong-fast, The New York Review of Books, "What the FBI Had on Grandpa," 21 Feb. 2021 Sidney Smyer was not what anyone would consider a progressive, a liberal or a radical. Kyle Whitmire | Kwhitmire@al.com, al, "Hey, Big Mules! Quit financing crackpots like Mo Brooks," 9 Jan. 2021 Warnock’s comments and sermons have surfaced frequently since the reverend made the jump to Senate candidate, often being used to paint him as a radical. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Raphael Warnock labeled senators 'gangsters and thugs' for passing 2017 tax cuts," 15 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for radical

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for radical

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Radical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/radical. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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 radical (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

Comments on radical

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