rev·​o·​lu·​tion·​ary | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shə-ˌner-ē \

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 \ adverb
revolutionariness \ ˌre-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs \ 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

Technology and innovation also exist within this zone, so those born with planets in the Eleventh House are often defined by their revolutionary ideas. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 Hardly a revolutionary idea, but at the very least the combo of World Cup and blockchain could help draw attention to the company amid the din of World Cup mania this month. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Soccer Meet Blockchain: Olyseum Wants to Ride the Crypto Wave," 15 June 2018 Here’s a revolutionary idea: Don’t mess with Rihanna, ever. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Snapchat’s Offensive Rihanna Ad Cost the App $800 Million," 17 Mar. 2018 The Battle of Santiago did at least give birth to two revolutionary ideas., "World Cup Countdown: 14 Weeks to Go - Chile and Italy Lose Their Cool in 1962's Battle of Santiago," 16 Mar. 2018 One of the revolutionary ideas King encouraged was a guaranteed income, apportioned to all poor people, designed to bring poverty to an end. Jesmyn Ward, The Atlantic, "How Poverty and Racism Persist in Mississippi," 1 Mar. 2018 The bar is set so low for fathers that literally just showing up is a revolutionary idea. Jean Bentley, Redbook, "Stop Praising TV Dads for Doing the Bare Minimum," 14 Apr. 2017 Though that word has become somewhat toothless, co-opted by marketing language, its utopian aspirations are what make The Handmaid’s Tale empowering, and possibly revolutionary. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Do We Really Need a Handmaid’s Tale Sequel?," 29 Nov. 2018 Equally revolutionary is the company's goal to automate the production of rockets. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Relativity hires senior Tesla manager to help automate rocket production," 22 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Le Grand K was created (along with the rest of the metric system) during the French Revolution when scientists and revolutionaries were united in their desire to remake the world. James Vincent, The Verge, "How and why we redefined the kilogram," 18 Dec. 2018 With historical fiction, particularly an era so flush with royals and revolutionaries, there is a danger in getting lost in details and shortchanging character development. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "Empress Maria heads juicy Russian cast in historical novel about the Romanovs," 12 July 2018 John Brown, the abolitionist revolutionary, was convicted of treason against the state of Virginia on grounds of levying war after his raid on Harpers Ferry. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Michael Flynn’s judge suggested he might be guilty of treason. He’s not.," 18 Dec. 2018 Iran holds a rally every Nov. 4 to celebrate the storming of the U.S. embassy 39 years ago by revolutionaries who proceeded to hold 52 Americans hostage there for over a year, precipitating an international crisis. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "On Eve of New Sanctions, Iranian Regime Whips Up Anti-American Anger," 4 Nov. 2018 The kilts are now drastically shorter than those sported by the rugged revolutionaries fighting the Turks in the Greek War of Independence. Washington Post, "Godly giants in kilts: Meet Greece’s best-known soldiers," 24 May 2018 Washington, Jefferson and the bulk of their fellow revolutionaries were slave holders, after all. Jason Farago, New York Times, "A George Washington Monument, Rediscovered in Fragile Plaster," 27 June 2018 The first generation, led by Kim Jong Un’s grandfather Kim Il Sung, were the true revolutionaries who fought the Japanese and Americans and built North Korea. Rodger Baker, Fortune, "Commentary: Trump and Kim Are Both Unconventional. That Might Help Them Strike a Deal.," 2 May 2018 Once praised as a tech revolutionary, Zuckerberg has since been left to answer for his site’s missteps, and what the fallout elucidates about the role of social media in contemporary American life. Nash Jenkins, Time, "Mark Zuckerberg Tells Congress He's Sorry," 10 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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Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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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 \

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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