union·​ist | \ ˈyün-yə-nist How to pronounce unionist (audio) \

Definition of unionist

: an advocate or supporter of union or unionism

Examples of unionist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What else to make of the silence surrounding Thatcher’s defiance of the IRA or defeat of the Marxist trade-unionist Arthur Scargill, who had brought about the collapse of Ted Heath’s government in 1974? Graham Hillard, Washington Examiner, "Queen and country," 10 Dec. 2020 After his release from prison, the elder Mr. Rose rebuilt his life, working as a trade unionist and marrying Félix’s mother, Andrée Bergeron, a criminology student who was doing outreach at his prison. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "A Polarizing Documentary Spurs Debate Over a Violent Time in Quebec," 6 Dec. 2020 This battle was led by the Irish Republican Army, whose members were marked as terrorists by unionist armies, including the British Army. Lauren Puckett, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lord Mountbatten's Tragic Death in the Shadow V Explosion Was "Such a Deep Loss" for Prince Charles," 15 Nov. 2020 In Northern Ireland, after last year’s general election, nationalist lawmakers now outnumber unionists. Dara Doyle, Bloomberg.com, "A United Ireland? Sinn Fein’s Win Brings It Only One Step Closer," 5 May 2020 Equally unpalatable for unionists would be a victory for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. NBC News, "Northern Ireland: How Brexit and U.K. election unearthed old demons," 9 Dec. 2019 Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator, had a similar reputation with unionists, but carried the baggage of being a former IRA leader. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, "Seamus Mallon, a champion of the Irish peace process, lived as a Catholic and spoke ‘like a Prod’," 25 Jan. 2020 In the talks the two parties resolved a thorny dispute about the promotion of the Irish language, opposed by unionists. The Economist, "Forced remarriage Northern Ireland gets a government again," 10 Jan. 2020 The Sinn Fein leader said her party would continue to press for a referendum on Irish reunification — which is opposed by the unionists. Washington Post, "Northern Ireland’s parliament collapsed three years ago. On Saturday, lawmakers go back to work.," 10 Jan. 2020

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

1722, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of unionist was in 1722

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Last Updated

15 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unionist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unionist. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for unionist


How to pronounce unionist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unionist

: someone who supports labor unions
: a supporter of the Union (sense 4b) during the American Civil War
: a person who believes that Northern Ireland should remain a part of the United Kingdom

More from Merriam-Webster on unionist

Nglish: Translation of unionist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unionist for Arabic Speakers

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