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

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

This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Barack Obama's New Summer Reading List Has a Theme," 13 July 2018 Pac is more of a revolutionary, very militant and into philanthropy and things of that nature, while Big is a dope MC who loves to rhyme and enjoys making good records funny, serious and emotional in all different aspects. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "DJ Premier on Making Drake's 'Sandra's Rose' & Their Unfinished Song 'Sail' With Rick Ross," 29 June 2018 The growth has been more evolutionary than revolutionary, though. David Lyman, Detroit Free Press, "Great Lakes Chamber Music Fest celebrates 25 years of world-class music," 7 June 2018 If borne out, the findings would be nothing short of revolutionary, introducing a new fundamental particle to the lexicon of physics that might even help explain the mystery of dark matter. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Evidence Builds for a New Kind of Neutrino," 7 June 2018 More than just capturing physical features, self-portraits allow artists to channel their beliefs into their work in ways that are revealing and revolutionary, ultimately memorializing the woman and her story. National Geographic, "These Famous Women Artists Changed the World With Their Self-Portraits," 24 May 2018 Julian Schnabel’s paintings of the early 1980s were the DeLoreans of the art world: audacious in design, promoted as revolutionary, expensive as hell and, ultimately, dismissed as overhyped. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Julian Schnabel’s fashionable Legion debut," 20 Apr. 2018 And yet what Bazley is doing is seen as revolutionary, a great experiment. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: Darius Bazley's G League gamble will have fallout for years to come," 31 Mar. 2018 The two-day outdoor celebration — named after a 19th-century doctor and revolutionary from Puerto Rico — kicks off on Saturday with a parade starting on West Dedham Street., "Five things to do around Greater Boston, July 16-22," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 One crucial factor was the Vietnamese revolutionary movement based in Hanoi, which demonstrated imagination, inventiveness, resourcefulness and sheer ability to absorb vast casualties and keep fighting. Arthur I. Cyr, Lake County News-Sun, "Cyr: The essence of Memorial Day," 1 June 2018 The club’s founding fathers were revolutionaries, giving us important values and making us proud to wear the Nerazzurri shirt., "Inter Reveal Specially Designed Badge to Commemorate the Club's 110-Year Celebrations," 10 Mar. 2018 Two of the young recruits, Hilde and Isolde, find a wounded revolutionary, Volker, in the woods. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Lesbian revolutionaries smash sexual taboos to undermine the patriarchy in Bruce LaBruce's The Misandrists," 6 July 2018 Technological wizardry aside, the fact that great style can be found on everyone from the franchise’s heroes to its robo-revolutionaries makes for a compelling experience—something to keep in mind when heading to the theater this weekend. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Solo: A Star Wars Story," 1 June 2018 Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 will take over Johannesburg's FNB Stadium for three days before the fifth anniversary of the passing of the human rights activist, leader and revolutionary on Dec. 13, 2013. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Beyonce & JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder and More to Headline Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100," 9 July 2018 Few American revolutionaries have been studied as much as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Mark G. Spencer, WSJ, "‘Apostles of Revolution’ Review: The Birthday of a New World," 2 July 2018 The storytelling series, hosted at this Lower East Side venue with speakeasy vibes, celebrates the female revolutionaries who often don’t get their fair share of real estate in history books. Kasia Pilat, New York Times, "7 Comedy Shows to Catch in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 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

31 Oct 2018

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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 \

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

What made you want to look up revolutionary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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