un·​re·​con·​struct·​ed ˌən-ˌrē-kən-ˈstrək-təd How to pronounce unreconstructed (audio)
: not reconciled to some political, economic, or social change
an unreconstructed rebel
also : holding stubbornly to a particular belief, view, place, or style
an unreconstructed hard-liner

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The reorganization and reestablishment of the seceded states in the Union after the American Civil War is referred to as the Reconstruction. The earliest known use of unreconstructed is by a writer for the Boston, Massachusetts, publication The Liberator, who in 1865 used it to describe Southerners who were not reconciled to the outcome of the War and the changes enacted during the Reconstruction. The word immediately caught on and has been used to refer to intransigent or dyed-in-the-wool partisans ever since. The word is also used outside of political and social contexts, as when a person is described as "an unreconstructed rocker" or "an unreconstructed romantic."

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The pans and zooms land cartoonishly on boobs and butts, as dapper engineer and new dad Cédric (Patrick Hivon) cheerfully downs solo cups of stadium beer while his loudmouthed, proudly unreconstructed buddy (Hubert Proulx) casually ranks the attractiveness of online women. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 23 Jan. 2022 Lunetta 11 occupies most of the buildings in Borgata Lunetta, a beautifully unreconstructed rural hamlet. Lee Marshall, Condé Nast Traveler, 10 Mar. 2022 The justices could impose moral order on the South’s unreconstructed politics of hate. Ian Macdougall, Harper’s Magazine , 28 Sep. 2022 Much of it was couched in an unreconstructed view of history where the Lost Cause is noble, the Confederacy was a bastion of states rights and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman was an unprincipled butcher. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2022 Stem to stern, the GOP is sailing with a full complement of unreconstructed chaos agents. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 20 Aug. 2022 Earlier waves of tenants included Jewish European émigrés, unreconstructed Socialists and scores of psychoanalysts. New York Times, 27 June 2022 Falwell cast Trump, still regarded by many believers as an unreconstructed sinner, as a pragmatic businessman who would honor his promises to evangelicals. Megan K. Stack, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2022 There are lots of compelling ideas like that, from flat-taxers and fair-taxers and unreconstructed Georgists and other sundry practitioners of wonkery. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 30 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unreconstructed.' 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

1865, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unreconstructed was in 1865


Dictionary Entries Near unreconstructed

Cite this Entry

“Unreconstructed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unreconstructed. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

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