Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of an 18th- and 19th-century British political party that was opposed to the Tories.
  • n. A supporter of the war against England during the American Revolution.
  • n. A 19th-century American political party formed to oppose the Democratic Party and favoring high tariffs and a loose interpretation of the Constitution.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. a member of an 18th- and 19th-century political party in Britain that was opposed to the Tories, and eventually became the Liberal Party
  • proper n. an advocate of war against Britain during the American Revolution
  • proper n. a member of a 19th-century US political party opposed to the Democratic Party

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Acidulated whey, sometimes mixed with buttermilk and sweet herbs, used as a cooling beverage.
  • n. One of a political party which grew up in England in the seventeenth century, in the reigns of Charles I. and II., when great contests existed respecting the royal prerogatives and the rights of the people. Those who supported the king in his high claims were called Tories, and the advocates of popular rights, of parliamentary power over the crown, and of toleration to Dissenters, were, after 1679, called Whigs. The terms Liberal and Radical have now generally superseded Whig in English politics. See the note under Tory.
  • n.
  • n. A friend and supporter of the American Revolution; -- opposed to Tory, and Royalist.
  • n. One of the political party in the United States from about 1829 to 1856, opposed in politics to the Democratic party.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the Whigs.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Sour whey.
  • n. Buttermilk.
  • To move at an easy and steady pace; jog.
  • To urge forward, as a horse.
  • n. One of the adherents of the Presbyterian cause in Scotland about the middle of the seventeenth century: a name given in derision.
  • n. [capitalized] A member of one of the two great political parties of Great Britain, the other being the Tories (later the Conservatives).
  • n. [capitalized] In American history:
  • n. A member of the patriotic party during the revolutionary period.
  • n. One of a political party in the United States which grew up, in opposition to the Democratic party, out of the National Republican party.
  • Relating to or composed of Whigs, in any use of that word; whiggish: as, Whig measures; a Whig ministry.
  • n. A variant of wig.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a supporter of the American Revolution
  • n. a member of the Whig Party that existed in the United States before the American Civil War
  • n. a member of the political party that urged social reform in 18th and 19th century England; was the opposition party to the Tories

Etymologies

Probably short for Whiggamore, a member of a body of 17th-century Scottish Presbyterian rebels.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Whiggamore, possibly from Scots whiggamore ("horse driver") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In fact, the result of this work was to make the old appellations of Whig and Tory assume a widely different meaning from that which had hitherto been attached to them: by the term Whig was now understood the favourers of such democratic principles as existed in

    The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. From George III. to Victoria

  • The Jacksonian faction started calling themselves Democrats, while Jackson's critics adopted the term Whig.

    Forbes.com: News

  • [4] Until after the year 1688, I do not remember ever to have found the term Whig applied except to the religious characteristics of that party: whatever reference it might have to their political distinctions was only secondary and by implication.

    Note Book of an English Opium-Eater

  • Marquand identifies the Burkean tradition with what he terms the Whig imperialists of the 19th and 20th centuries: This Whig imperialist tradition reigned for most of the 19th century, and virtually the entire interwar period.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • The former is provided by a tendency in Whig politics that we can call antimilitarism.

    There has never been a successful right-wing insurgency « Isegoria

  • By reason of an understanding among certain Whig leaders of the district that they would take a "turn about" in Congress, he did not stand for re-election.

    Abe Lincoln, Country Lawyer

  • By the times of Queen Anne the terms Whig and Tory, replaced in our days for the most part by Liberal and Conservative, had come into common use, and no one who desires to understand the history of her reign can wholly neglect the movements of these two opposing parties in politics.

    With Marlborough to Malplaquet A Story of the Reign of Queen Anne

  • The name Whig was superseded altogether by that of Liberal, while the name

    The Governments of Europe

  • For us the word Whig has come to mean a dignified aristocrat who, by the pressure of family tradition, maintains a painful association with vulgar Radicals: for Johnson it meant a rebel against the principle of authority.

    Dr. Johnson and His Circle

  • The first open occurrence of the word Whig in British History was, I believe, in the circumstances described in the text at p. 621.

    The Life of John Milton

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