rev·​o·​lu·​tion·​ary | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce revolutionary (audio) \

Definition of revolutionary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or constituting a revolution revolutionary war
b : tending to or promoting revolution
c : constituting or bringing about a major or fundamental change a revolutionary new product
2 capitalized : of or relating to the American Revolution or to the period in which it occurred


plural revolutionaries

Definition of revolutionary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one engaged in a revolution
2 : an advocate or adherent of revolutionary doctrines

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Other Words from revolutionary


revolutionarily \ ˌre-​və-​ˌlü-​shə-​ˈner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce revolutionarily (audio) \ adverb
revolutionariness \ ˌre-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce revolutionariness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for revolutionary

Synonyms: Adjective

extreme, extremist, fanatic (or fanatical), rabid, radical, revolutionist, ultra

Synonyms: Noun

crazy, extremist, radical, revolutionist

Antonyms: Adjective

middle-of-the-road, nonrevolutionary, unrevolutionary

Antonyms: Noun

middle-of-the-roader, moderate

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Examples of revolutionary in a Sentence


a candidate with a lot of crazy, revolutionary ideas that no one seems to be going for revolutionary forces that were soundly defeated before reaching the capital


after the collapse of the Russian monarchy, the moderate socialists briefly governed until being overthrown by the Bolshevik revolutionaries at first the government was not worried about this small band of unarmed revolutionaries
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The son of a high-level revolutionary, Xi grew up near the Party headquarters in Beijing. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "China’s Hong Kong Dilemma," 25 Aug. 2019 Socrates became suspect, not only for the actions of some of his associates but because his concepts of individualism seemed too revolutionary in the politically fraught times. National Geographic, "Who was Socrates?," 11 Mar. 2019 Maybe that’s what makes our moments of outward happiness seem so cathartic, so revolutionary. Tyrone Beason / Columnist, The Seattle Times, "Joy, peace feed black revolution in artist Natasha Marin’s new West Seattle exhibit," 19 Aug. 2018 Leaves of Grass was revolutionary not only in its structure but in its major themes: the celebration of nature, of the individual, and of the body. Daniel Ross Goodman, National Review, "Walt Whitman, an American," 31 Aug. 2019 Whether Kipchoge's attempt is as revolutionary as a moon landing or more akin to high jumping on Mars is a matter of opinion. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Eliud Kipchoge's sub-two-hour marathon quest 'contrived,' says leading sports scientist," 29 Aug. 2019 The 46-year-old director caught up with Fortune to discuss Elliott’s creative process, her impact on the art form, and why her early videos were so revolutionary in the age of TRL. Dan Reilly, Fortune, "How Missy Elliott’s Music Videos Influenced a Generation, According to the Man Who Directed 11 of Them," 26 Aug. 2019 Leaving embryos undisturbed from day one to day five —when the embryo becomes what’s known as a blastocyst—rather than checking on them on day three, as many centers do, has been similarly revolutionary. Jancee Dunn, Vogue, "How California Became the World’s Fertility Treatment Destination," 13 Mar. 2019 As Robert Chandler, Grossman’s longtime translator, has written, Grossman retained at least some degree of revolutionary romanticism until his last days. . . . Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "Letters," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Amid the country’s descent into civil war beginning 1974, Ethiopian Jews became more prominent as political revolutionaries, active in rebel struggles against the military regime. Suyin Haynes, Time, "The Red Sea Diving Resort," 1 Aug. 2019 Li saw their leaders as counter-revolutionaries, bent on overthrowing the party. The Economist, "Obituary: Li Peng died on July 22nd," 25 July 2019 If fewer than 82 revolutionaries could conquer Cuba in 1959 surely 11-and-a-half million citizens of Cuba could dispose of the current government. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: Pig’s Eye Lake plan pegs his B.S. meter," 26 June 2019 Over the centuries, Notre Dame rose as the spiritual and civic center of Paris, then became a target of Hugenot vandals in the 16th century, rampaging revolutionaries in the 18th century, and Nazi occupiers in the 20th century. Kristin Romey, National Geographic, "Why history says Notre Dame will rise again," 16 Apr. 2019 As a result of the migratory waves, hundreds of thousands of Cubans in their 50s and 60s have regular contact with friends and relatives in other countries, a sharp distinction from Cuba’s original revolutionaries. Washington Post, "Cuba’s ‘lost generation’ prepares to take power next week," 13 Apr. 2018 After his dead cousin, a Maoist revolutionary who was killed by the police, appears to him in a dream, Harbart sets up shop as a medium. Amos Barshad, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 7 June 2018 The revolutionaries suffered great losses, but eventually took the fortress after several hours. Ryan Prior And Erin Davis, CNN, "Bastille Day inspired centuries of civil disobedience in France. Here's why," 13 July 2019 But the revolutionaries aren’t satisfied avenging the vices of the current clerical generation. Liam Warner, WSJ, "Reparations and the Spirit of 1789," 11 July 2019

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


1718, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for revolutionary

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for revolutionary

The first known use of revolutionary was in 1718

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More Definitions for revolutionary



English Language Learners Definition of revolutionary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to, involving, or supporting a political revolution
: causing or relating to a great or complete change



English Language Learners Definition of revolutionary (Entry 2 of 2)

: someone who leads, joins, or wants a revolution


rev·​o·​lu·​tion·​ary | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce revolutionary (audio) \

Kids Definition of revolutionary

1 : relating to or involving rebellion against a ruler or government revolutionary leaders
2 : being or bringing about a big or important change a revolutionary invention
3 capitalized : of or relating to the American Revolution

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Comments on revolutionary

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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