re·​ac·​tion·​ary | \rē-ˈak-shə-ˌner-ē \

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 \ 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

Putin grew increasingly enamored of reactionary social theories portraying traditional, conservative, Christian Europe as pitted in a civilizational struggle against both decadent liberalism and radical Islam. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 But a few good votes that are close to my heart do not blind my eyes to a fundamentally reactionary record. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Morning Spin: Emanuel says departing Supreme Court Justice Kennedy not 'a modern-day King Solomon'," 6 July 2018 The soul singer Leon Bridges began his career with a retro musical style that seemed almost reactionary. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Thursday: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and ‘CMT Crossroads’," 28 June 2018 The situation above is perhaps the most reactionary scenario any shortstop could find itself in. Staff,, "Nine Innings: Three Players Limiting the Cubs, Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s Eruption and Ohtani's Filthy Splitter," 29 May 2018 The problem is, all Taylor’s examples are of the GOP getting more reactionary over time. David Roberts, Vox, "The choice for Never Trumpers is obvious, but not easy," 24 Apr. 2018 Once the floodgate opens, people can't stop—reactionary, frightening, embarrassing…—but Mr. Jimmy eventually brings it to a shush. Michael Paterniti, GQ, "Jimmy Carter for Higher Office," 26 June 2018 Jung, Campbell, and Eliade believed that mythology contained the core truths of human culture, and shared an affinity for reactionary politics. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Jordan Peterson’s Tired Old Myths," 21 May 2018 The reactionary sentiment of the past decade seems less like an uptick than a storm surge. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 2018

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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Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for reactionary

The first known use of reactionary was in 1815

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playful or foolish behavior

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