union·​ist ˈyün-yə-nist How to pronounce unionist (audio)
: an advocate or supporter of union or unionism

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The Northern Ireland Assembly has not sat for more than a year, after the main unionist party pulled out of the government to protest new trade rules for Northern Ireland brought in after Brexit. Darlene Superville, Colleen Long, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Apr. 2023 Biden’s trip comes at a turbulent political time in Northern Ireland, which has seen a year-long boycott by the Democratic Unionist Party, the country’s largest pro-British unionist party. Diego Lasarte, Quartz, 7 Apr. 2023 While Union Jacks flutter from lampposts in Protestant neighborhoods, Omagh has none of the unionist or nationalist murals that cover walls in hard-core enclaves of Belfast and Derry, Northern Ireland’s second-largest city. Mark Landler, New York Times, 6 Apr. 2023 Both nationalist and unionist identities are on the uptick, and the proportion of people in Northern Ireland claiming neither identity has plummeted to 37%. Joseph Patrick Kelly, The Conversation, 5 Apr. 2023 But while Sinn Féin’s success is significant, Irish reunification isn’t going to happen overnight, or even in the near future, thanks in part to Brexit, the province’s complex power-sharing rules, and the emergence of a growing number of people who identify as neither unionist nor nationalist. Brian T. Brown, NBC News, 15 May 2022 Under a mandatory power-sharing system created by the 1998 peace agreement that ended decades of Catholic-Protestant conflict, the jobs of first minister and deputy first minister are split between the biggest unionist party and the largest nationalist one. Arkansas Online, 8 May 2022 But on Wednesday, hundreds of Irish nationalist and unionist demonstrators began to face off, a worrying escalation that stirred old memories of the 30 years of sectarian violence known as the Troubles, which led to the deaths of 3,500 civilians, British security forces and paramilitaries. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2021 The agreement created a power-sharing arrangement in Northern Ireland that operates on the basis of consensus between nationalist parties that seek closer ties with the Republic of Ireland and unionist parties that want to maintain historic links with the United Kingdom. Danica Kirka, ajc, 20 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unionist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1722, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unionist was in 1722

Dictionary Entries Near unionist

Cite this Entry

“Unionist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unionist. Accessed 30 May. 2023.

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