re·​ac·​tion·​ary | \ rē-ˈak-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce reactionary (audio) \

Definition of reactionary

: relating to, marked by, or favoring reaction especially : ultraconservative in politics

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Other Words from reactionary

reactionary noun
reactionaryism \ rē-​ˈak-​shə-​ˌner-​ē-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce reactionaryism (audio) \ noun

Examples of reactionary in a Sentence

reactionary guardians of proper English usage invariably regard every new coinage that comes along as a nonword
Recent Examples on the Web When his parents applied for Soviet papers, an irate official accused them of naming Uri after a reactionary anti-Soviet poet. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: A Surprising Turn of Fate," 9 Oct. 2020 That was, in part, because conservatives wanted to push their reactionary social agenda, but the money was meant to purchase far more. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "Ending Trump’s Assault on the Rule of Law," 28 Sep. 2020 Indeed, at the most significant moments in African-American history, the Court reflected the most reactionary elements of the culture in its efforts to abridge, degrade, or simply eliminate the rights of African-Americans. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, "The Case for Ending the Supreme Court as We Know It," 25 Sep. 2020 Still, despite these traditional ways, the Silver Spirit also contains proof that R-R has not gone reactionary on us. Patrick Bedard, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1981 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit Rejuvenates Traditional Luxury," 23 Sep. 2020 Fanning nationalist flames in the U.S. does the same abroad, empowering the most reactionary members of President Xi Jingping’s administration by confirming their worst suspicions about American aims in Asia. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "We Can’t Fight Climate Change Without China," 12 Aug. 2020 The degree to which these reactionary impulses can influence decision-making—even in the face of logical, factual information—is indication of how strong these implicit biases are, how muscular this inequity is. Jennifer Tsai, Scientific American, "COVID-19’s Disparate Impacts Are Not a Story about Race," 8 Sep. 2020 Of course, a wide range of thinkers have rejected this view that ISIS’s violence is reactionary. Sam Sweeney, National Review, "The Zero-Sum Game of Syrian Politics," 6 Sep. 2020 Trump, for all his genuflecting to the 1950s version of America, also embodies the contemporary age of social media, feeding into and benefiting from a reactionary culture that insists social movements and multiculturalism have gone too far. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, "Understanding 2020’s confusion," 30 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reactionary.' 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 reactionary

1815, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for reactionary

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The first known use of reactionary was in 1815

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reactionary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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