American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
- adj. Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.
- adj. Moderate; cautious: a conservative estimate.
- adj. Of or relating to the political philosophy of conservatism.
- adj. Belonging to a conservative party, group, or movement.
- adj. Of or belonging to the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom or the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada.
- adj. Of or adhering to Conservative Judaism.
- adj. Tending to conserve; preservative: the conservative use of natural resources.
- n. One favoring traditional views and values.
- n. A supporter of political conservatism.
- n. A member or supporter of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom or the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada.
- n. Archaic A preservative agent or principle.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Preservative; having power or tendency to preserve in a safe or entire state; protecting from loss, waste, or injury: said of things.
- Disposed to retain and maintain what is established, as institutions, customs, and the like; opposed to innovation and change; in an extreme and unfavorable sense, opposed to progress: said of persons or their characteristics.
- Specifically In politics: Antagonistic to change in the institutions of the country, civil or ecclesiastical; especially, opposed to change in the direction of democracy.
- Hence- [capitalized] Of or pertaining to the Conservatives or their principles. See II., 3.
- n. One who aims, or that which tends, to preserve from injury, decay, or loss; a preserver or preservative.
- n. One who is opposed by nature or on principle to innovation and change; in an unfavorable sense, one who from prejudice or lack of foresight is opposed to true progress.
- n. [capitalized] In Great Britain, a Tory: a name first adopted by the Tory party about the time of the passing of the first Reform Bill (1832). The professed object of the Conservatives, as a political body, is to maintain and preserve by every constitutional means the existing institutions of the country, both ecclesiastical and civil, and to oppose such measures and changes as they believe have a tendency either to destroy or to impair these institutions.
- n. In U. s, history, one of the group of Democrats who, during Van Buren's administration, voted with the Whigs against the Independent Treasury Bill.
- n. A person who favors maintenance of the status quo or reversion to some earlier status.
- n. US, economics A fiscal conservative
- n. US, politics A political conservative
- n. US, social sciences A social conservative.
- adj. Tending to resist change.
- adj. Based on pessimistic assumptions.
- adj. US, economics, politics, social sciences Supporting some combination of fiscal, political or social conservatism.
- adj. US, politics Relating to the Republican Party, regardless of its conservatism.
- adj. UK, politics Relating to the Conservative Party.
- adj. physics (no comparative or superlative) Neither creating nor destroying a given quantity.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Having power to preserve in a safe of entire state, or from loss, waste, or injury; preservative.
- adj. Tending or disposed to maintain existing institutions; opposed to change or innovation.
- adj. Of or pertaining to a political party which favors the conservation of existing institutions and forms of government, as the
Conservativeparty in England; -- contradistinguished from Liberaland Radical.
- n. One who, or that which, preserves from ruin, injury, innovation, or radical change; a preserver; a conserver.
- n. One who desires to maintain existing institutions and customs; also, one who holds moderate opinions in politics; -- opposed to
- n. (Eng. Hist.) A member of the Conservative party.
- adj. conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class
- adj. avoiding excess
- adj. unimaginatively conventional
- n. a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas
- adj. having social or political views favoring conservatism
- n. a member of a Conservative Party
- adj. resistant to change
- con- + servare, From Latin to guard or protect (Wiktionary)
“Unfortunately, modern liberals have butchered the term conservative by teaching people that it means being backward and close-minded--and who wants to think of themselves this way?”
“Ronald Reagan who defined the term conservative for a generation was occasionally accused of not being conservative enough and liked to joke that sometimes his right arm didn't know what his far-right arm was doing.”
“Norman Solomon: Well, what goes by the term conservative is too often a sort of a euphemism for dog eat dog, whoever comes out on top, we believe in the survival of the fittest – a sort of perversion of Darwinism taken into a social realm, where generally, the predatory nature in the animal kingdom of one category of animal inflicted on another is sort of mimicked and replicated.”
“And so we see that the term conservative has little value as a label; in fact, one might say that its label-value varies inversely with one's right to wear it.”
“Democrats should not surrender the term conservative or self-identified conservative voters to Republicans.”
“Well, I really do think of myself as a moderate; I'm happy to accept the label conservative, and I'll use it myself, but in fact, the topics that I tend to comment about, y'know, the stuff that really starts arguments, tends to be that which I have the strongest opinion on, which tends to be stuff where I'm less moderate.”
“AND: I should add, in case you're new around here, that I never use the label conservative for myself and repeatedly say that it is not apt.”
“At this point, in the brutish life of an empire, the term conservative becomes a misnomer.”
“Apparently, the term conservative has been fixed around contemporary conservative hegemony.”
“The term conservative and liberal should be retired.”
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