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

For now at least, Reliance’s ambition to transform small traders into the foot soldiers of its e-commerce empire looks more tentative than revolutionary. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Can India’s richest man take on Amazon and Walmart?," 9 Sep. 2019 Temperamentally, Lawrence seems ill-suited to the role of revolutionary—a trait that, as much as his arm talent, surely pleases NFL brass. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "Why Is Trevor Lawrence Playing College Football?," 29 Aug. 2019 Given all that, the idea to continue MAT for inmates seems more logical than revolutionary. David Noonan, Scientific American, "How to Stop Prisons from Laying the Groundwork for a Fatal Overdose," 15 July 2019 Some of these organizations are moderate and traditionalist, others radical and revolutionary. Corey Pein, The New Republic, "Antifa Is Arming Itself Against a Trump Crackdown," 2 July 2019 The 6-mile-long downtown Enghelab, or Revolution, Street was decorated with huge balloons as loudspeakers blared out revolutionary and nationalist songs. Nasser Karimi, The Seattle Times, "Iranians mark anniversary of victory day in 1979 revolution," 11 Feb. 2019 The celebration featured patriotic speeches, songs, prayers and a parade from Walt Whitman’s birthplace to the Seghers’ Sunnyhill farm, complete with people dressed up in colonial- and revolutionary-era costume. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Citizenship Day Used to Be Called 'I Am an American Day.' Here's How It Came to Be—and Why It Changed," 17 Sep. 2019 The aerospace centre that stages the show is now preparing for another sort of revolutionary aircraft to take to the sky. The Economist, "Flying taxis are taking off to whisk people around cities," 14 Sep. 2019 Instead, Bach says, the poem strove to stoke revolutionary fervor and patriotism (the work was published just ahead of the Civil War) by presenting Revere as the ultimate American hero. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Exploring Paul Revere’s Legacy Beyond His Famed Midnight Ride," 12 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Legend has it that Ming revolutionaries used them to smuggle secret messages tucked inside while fighting Mongol rulers during the Yuan dynasty. Washington Post, "Hong Kong bakery’s mooncakes carry protest movement slogans," 21 Aug. 2019 Burkeans such as Philip Hammond and Rory Stewart were out; revolutionaries such as Dominic Raab and Priti Patel now hold all the great offices of state. The Economist, "Long live the Tory revolution!," 1 Aug. 2019 As a Marxist revolutionary who faced prison and risked death in the fight for justice and the independence of his nation, Mugabe well deserves the accolades of his citizens. Aryn Baker, Time, "Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean Revolutionary Who Later Ruled With an Iron Fist, Dies at 95," 6 Sep. 2019 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

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

17 Oct 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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