Meaning of CONSERVATIVE in English


I. kənˈsərvəd.]iv, -sə̄v-, -səiv, -vət]iv also ]əv\ adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French conservatif, from Late Latin conservativus, from Latin conservatus (past part of conservare to conserve) + -ivus -ive — more at conserve

1. : having the power or tendency to preserve in a safe and entire state : preservative

the conservative powers of the Egyptian climate have given us priceless relics in near-perfect condition

conservative of all good things

specifically : designed to preserve parts or restore function

conservative surgery

— compare radical


a. : of or relating to a political party, point of view, or philosophy that advocates preservation of the established order and views proposals for change critically and usually with distrust

conservative elements opposed to … further steps toward socialization or nationalization — Collier's Year Book

b. : of, relating to, or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: as

(1) usually capitalized : of or constituting one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom evolving from the 18th century Tories and in modern times associated with policies advocating support of established institutions, a close relationship with the Commonwealth and Empire, and a positive although limited role by the government in social and economic affairs

the parliamentary Conservative party is preeminently recruited from the upper and upper-middle classes — J.F.S.Ross

a handsome Conservative majority … emerged from the general election — J.A.Hawgood

— compare labor , liberal , tory , unionist , whig

(2) usually capitalized : Progressive Conservative


a. : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions : opposed to radical or basic changes : exhibiting minimal change : traditional

conservative policies

a conservative administration

a conservative genus

b. : not in excess

conservative action

: cautious

a conservative point of view

a conservative utterance

: moderate

a conservative estimate of 200

: unwilling to overreach : involving little or fearful of risk

a conservative banker

conservative investments

c. : tending to avoid dissonance, showiness, or effects that would attract undue or immediate attention : cleaving to traditional norms of taste, elegance, or manners

a conservative suit

a rich but conservative architectural style

4. : of or relating to Conservative Judaism


reactionary , die-hard , tory : conservative suggests desire to retain and maintain existing institutions, procedures, and ways and to resist and suspect proposals for change

although he was naturally conservative and did not disturb the predominance of Latin and Greek, he somewhat modified the curriculum — C.M.Fuess

reactionary applies to wishes to return to an older outworn order or to influences making for such a return; unlike conservative , it is almost always derogatory

both the Reformation and the Counter Reformation were reactionary; though they brought the Middle Ages to an end, they themselves were medieval in spirit and method — W.R.Inge

die-hard implies a stubborn, truculent retention of older procedures and resistance to new

some die-hard individual may insist on driving a horse and buggy after all the rest of his society have automobiles — Ralph Linton

while the Progressive Conservative platform reflected the party's die-hard conservatism on most issues, it came out, in striking contrast to previous policies, for the principle of expanding international trade — Collier's Year Book

tory may suggest a sometimes reactionary allegiance to long-established principles and social customs

to a slow-moving and Tory society they were radical changes shocking to men's minds — Kiewiet

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from conservative, adjective

1. archaic : a preservative agent or principle : preserver , conserver

the Holy Spirit is the great conservative of the new life — Jeremy Taylor


a. : an adherent or advocate of political conservatism

it is the task of the conservative not to defeat but to forestall revolutions — H.A.Kissinger

b. usually capitalized : a member or supporter of a conservative political party ; especially : a member of the Conservative party of the United Kingdom

both Conservatives and Labour competed for the middle-class vote — Roy Lewis & Angus Maude

3. : one who adheres to traditional, time-tested, long-standing methods, procedures, or views : a moderate, cautious, or discreet person

a conservative in his choice of clothes

the firm was always the conservative in marine architecture

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.