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 Peasants’ newfound political power varied depending on location and circumstance, but reactionary resistance to the greater freedom of the post-plague world was always fierce. Kevin Baker, Harper's Magazine, "Things to Come," 23 June 2020 Righteous deathgods of law enforcement aren’t exclusive to the populist-reactionary front. Darren Franich,, "The death and life of the lawyer show," 18 June 2020 But caring for yourself can give you the resilience, energy and patience needed to respond to your defiant child with positive guidance instead of reactionary frustration. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Positive discipline 101: How to rein in your kids when the pandemic changes the relationship," 17 June 2020 Donald Trump is a dangerous, petty man willing to abuse his authority and deploy violence to satisfy the resentments of a reactionary minority. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Are You Really Surprised by Our Authoritarian President?," 3 June 2020 For decades, the opinion pages were safe spaces for white, reactionary writers. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Real Snowflakes on the Op-Ed Page," 10 June 2020 The new national anthem bill is in part reactionary to anti-government protests last year, but Beijing's grip over Hong Kong continues to tighten. Fox News, "Hong Kong passes bill making it a crime to disrespect China’s national anthem," 5 June 2020 Quite often, and certainly when Trump first entered the White House, the tension between him and the Davos crowd was pitched as a great first-principles clash between reactionary nationalism and multicultural globalism. Jeff Spross, TheWeek, "Of course Davos loves Trump," 22 Jan. 2020 That moment, Kojève argued, marked the permanent triumph of the principles of the French Revolution over the reactionary forces of European royalty. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "Fukuyama’s Inner Civic Republicanism (Part 2)," 21 Nov. 2019

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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Statistics for reactionary

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reactionary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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