radical

adjective
rad·​i·​cal | \ ˈra-di-kəl How to pronounce radical (audio) \

Essential Meaning of radical

1 : very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary The computer has introduced radical innovations. radical ideas about education
2 : very basic and important There are some radical differences between the two proposals. The new president has made some radical changes to the company. radical reforms
3 : having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people radical liberals/conservatives a radical wing of extremists

Full Definition of radical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or proceeding from a root: such as
a(1) : of or growing from the root of a plant radical tubers
(2) : growing from the base of a stem, from a rootlike stem, or from a stem that does not rise above the ground radical leaves
b : of, relating to, or constituting a linguistic root
c : of or relating to a mathematical root
d : designed to remove the root of a disease or all diseased and potentially diseased tissue radical surgery radical mastectomy
2 : of or relating to the origin : fundamental
3a : very different from the usual or traditional : extreme
b : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
c : associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change
d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs the radical right
4 slang : excellent, cool

radical

noun

Definition of radical (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a root part
b : a basic principle : foundation
b : a sound or letter belonging to a radical
3 : one who is radical
4 : free radical also : a group of atoms bonded together that is considered an entity in various kinds of reactions or as a subunit of a larger molecule
5a : a mathematical expression indicating a root by means of a radical sign

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Other Words from radical

Adjective

radicalness noun

Examples of radical in a Sentence

Adjective The computer has introduced radical innovations. There are some radical differences between the two proposals. The new president has made some radical changes to the company. a radical wing of extremists Noun He was a radical when he was young, but now he's much more moderate. radicals staged large, violent protests in the hopes of toppling the government
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Pham might be a tad too radical, and Zurier might be a little boring. BostonGlobe.com, 5 Oct. 2021 But in some ways, the scheme favored by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is even more radical than the United Kingdom's system. Sally Pipes, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 Even so, some of the work is rather radical for this community. Avital Chizhik-goldschmidt, The Atlantic, 24 Sep. 2021 In the context of New York art of the time, dominated by Abstract Expressionism, the picture was radical. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 But his conduct in recent days has been radical even for an ex-President who spent four years tearing down the conventions of the presidency and political and legal norms. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 13 Sep. 2021 Her series was so radical, the panel of university judges didn’t understand it and López, the only Latina in her class, had to explain the significance. Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2021 In South Africa under apartheid, Nelson Mandela’s followers had to be radical in their imagination to create a vision of a fairer society. Peter Sutoris, Scientific American, 4 Sep. 2021 Iran, ruled by Shiite clerics, and the Taliban, a radical Sunni movement, are at fundamental odds, and Iran has long bristled at the Taliban's treatment of non-Sunni minorities. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 11 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her college-age daughter Olivia, played by Sydney Sweeney, is a left-wing radical in Golden Goose sneakers and vintage tees, while her best frenemy Paula, played by Brittany O’Grady, lives in slogan T-shirts and a dark, brooding palette. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 16 Aug. 2021 Over dinner one night in the mid-nineties, Merkel asked Schlöndorff, a former radical, to explain the violence perpetrated by the Baader-Meinhof Group. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 The environmental radical has worked for Sen. Jon Tester and former Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, and more recently at the National Wildlife Federation. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 8 July 2021 Its resurfacing comes as some Republicans have sought to undermine Stone-Manning's nomination, characterizing her as a partisan Democrat and environmental radical. Matthew Brown, Star Tribune, 11 June 2021 Its resurfacing comes as some Republicans have sought to undermine Stone-Manning's nomination, characterizing her as a partisan Democrat and environmental radical. Matthew Brown, ajc, 11 June 2021 Nor has the president proved to be the leftist radical that some of his opponents feared. Washington Post, 6 June 2021 Roddenberry has been described as a radical of his era, whose utopian vision of space travel was predicated on an absence of bigotry, in which race and gender weren't matters of contention. NBC News, 1 June 2021 My roommate thought Dylan was a radical who wanted to shake things up, as if that were a bad thing. Beth Thames | Bethmthames@gmail.com, al, 26 May 2021

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

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for radical

Adjective

Middle English, from Late Latin radicalis, from Latin radic-, radix root — more at root

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Time Traveler for radical

Time Traveler

The first known use of radical was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near radical

radiatory

radical

radical axis

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Statistics for radical

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Radical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/radical. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for radical

radical

adjective
rad·​i·​cal | \ ˈra-di-kəl How to pronounce radical (audio) \

Kids Definition of radical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : very new and different from the usual or ordinary : extreme a radical change
2 : of or relating to people who favor rapid and sweeping changes in laws and government

Other Words from radical

radically adverb

radical

noun

Kids Definition of radical (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who favors rapid and sweeping changes especially in laws and government

radical

adjective
rad·​i·​cal | \ ˈrad-i-kəl How to pronounce radical (audio) \

Medical Definition of radical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : designed to remove the root of a disease or all diseased tissue radical surgery
2 : involving complete removal of an organ radical prostatectomy — compare conservative

Other Words from radical

radically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce radical (audio) \ adverb

radical

noun

Medical Definition of radical (Entry 2 of 2)

: free radical also : a group of atoms bonded together that is considered an entity in various kinds of reactions

More from Merriam-Webster on radical

Nglish: Translation of radical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of radical for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about radical

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