Antonyms for liberal

Grammar : Adj
Spell : lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl
Phonetic Transcription : ˈlɪb ər əl, ˈlɪb rəl

Definition of liberal

Origin :
  • mid-14c., "generous," also, late 14c., "selfless; noble, nobly born; abundant," and, early 15c., in a bad sense "extravagant, unrestrained," from Old French liberal "befitting free men, noble, generous, willing, zealous" (12c.), from Latin liberalis "noble, gracious, munificent, generous," literally "of freedom, pertaining to or befitting a free man," from liber "free, unrestricted, unimpeded; unbridled, unchecked, licentious," from PIE *leudh-ero- (cf. Greek eleutheros "free"), probably originally "belonging to the people" (though the precise semantic development is obscure), and a suffixed form of the base *leudh- "people" (cf. Old Church Slavonic ljudu, Lithuanian liaudis, Old English leod, German Leute "nation, people;" Old High German liut "person, people") but literally "to mount up, to grow."
  • With the meaning "free from restraint in speech or action," liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach. It revived in a positive sense in the Enlightenment, with a meaning "free from prejudice, tolerant," which emerged 1776-88.
  • In reference to education, explained by Fowler as "the education designed for a gentleman (Latin liber a free man) & ... opposed on the one hand to technical or professional or any special training, & on the other to education that stops short before manhood is reached" (cf. liberal arts). Purely in reference to political opinion, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy" it dates from c.1801, from French libéral, originally applied in English by its opponents (often in French form and with suggestions of foreign lawlessness) to the party favorable to individual political freedoms. But also (especially in U.S. politics) tending to mean "favorable to government action to effect social change," which seems at times to draw more from the religious sense of "free from prejudice in favor of traditional opinions and established institutions" (and thus open to new ideas and plans of reform), which dates from 1823.
  • Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
  • adj progressive
  • adj giving, generous
  • adj abundant, profuse
Example sentences :
  • They were never allowed to learn any liberal art, or to sing manly songs.
  • Extract from : « Philothea » by Lydia Maria Child
  • His life has been that of his century—progressive, liberal, humanitarian in its trend.
  • Extract from : « The Grand Old Man » by Richard B. Cook
  • Mr. Gladstone was hailed everywhere as the leader of the Liberal party.
  • Extract from : « The Grand Old Man » by Richard B. Cook
  • Mr. Robert Lowe, a Liberal, became one of its most powerful assailants.
  • Extract from : « The Grand Old Man » by Richard B. Cook
  • This was regarded as the bugle-call to the Liberal party for the coming battle.
  • Extract from : « The Grand Old Man » by Richard B. Cook
  • A liberal discount to booksellers, news agents, and canvassers.
  • Extract from : « Scientific American Supplement, No. 433, April 19, 1884 » by Various
  • He will not only be a Prince now, but a master "without a parallel" in the liberal arts.
  • Extract from : « The Man Shakespeare » by Frank Harris
  • Most liberal contributor to the cause of education that there is in Canada.
  • Extract from : « In the Midst of Alarms » by Robert Barr
  • By the most liberal interpretation no phrase of his could be construed as a reflection on the stranger.
  • Extract from : « Quaint Courtships » by Various
  • As a general thing $25 should be a liberal allowance for this work.
  • Extract from : « Flying Machines » by W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell

Synonyms for liberal

Based on : - - - Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019