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 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 What’s not cool is judging women by any socio-political image — historic or contemporary, traditional or reactionary — that is not applied, in the same measure and with the same meaning, to men. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Surprise! The Internet has thoughts about Adele’s new body," 6 May 2020 Or for that matter the Gauls, the Visigoths and the Normans, or the cruel nobles or reactionary popes who governed the city so badly, or the plagues, measles, typhus, malaria and syphilis that brought Rome low at various points. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Rome Has Been Sacked, Conquered and Abandoned. Now It’s the Pandemic’s Turn.," 1 May 2020 This is about the same old reactionary politics of spite and self-defeat. Kyle Whitmire, al, "The time to expand Medicaid is now. When will Alabama? How about never?," 16 Apr. 2020 The truth is that the Republican Party has been the sanctuary of a small, vocal, and increasingly reactionary slice of the American electorate for more than fifty years. The New Yorker, "The Mail," 13 Apr. 2020 On the reactionary fringes, these centered on QAnon and the usual Deep State suspects, narratives that have been percolating in far-right corners for years. Whitney Phillips, Wired, "Lies About Covid-19 Might Be Deadly, But They're Not Unique," 9 Apr. 2020 In another movie, this divide might seem reductive, even reactionary. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "‘Lost Girls’ Review: Honoring the Gone Girls, With Sorrow and Rage," 11 Mar. 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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reactionary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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