favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
(often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating , especially the freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights and liberties.
favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression:
a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
of or relating to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant:
a liberal att-tude toward foreigners.
open-minded or tolerant, especially free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts:
a liberal donor.
given freely or abundantly; generous:
a liberal donation.
not strict or rigorous; free; not literal:
a liberal interpretation of a rule.
of, relating to, or based on the .
of, relating to, or befitting a freeman.
a person of liberal principles or views, especially in politics or religion.
(often initial capital letter) a member of a liberal party in politics, especially of the liberal party in great britain.
contemporary examples

the anti-liberal bias group spent $350,000 last year on a house—bought from its own vice president.
the media research center’s strange investment ben jacobs october 1, 2013

indeed, strictly speaking, these trends are illiberal and anti-liberal.
david mamet’s right turn david frum may 8, 2012

historical examples

it was a great accident that threw me into the anti-liberal att-tude, but having taken it up i held to it with energy.
the life of william ewart gladstone, vol. 1 (of 3) john morley

we can in no way lend our hand to an anti-liberal restoration.
the recollections of alexis de tocqueville alexis de tocqueville

is it a la mode for the moment to be liberal or anti-liberal?
the parisians, complete edward bulwer-lytton

in his political principles and opinions he was anti-liberal, and latterly an alarmist as well as a conservative.
the greville memoirs (second part) charles c. f. greville

relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform
relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom
giving and generous in temperament or behaviour
tolerant of other people
abundant; lavish: a liberal helping of cream
not strict; free: a liberal translation
of or relating to an education that aims to develop general cultural interests and intellectual ability
a person who has liberal ideas or opinions
a member or supporter of a liberal party or liberal democrat party
of or relating to a liberal party

mid-14c., “generous,” also, late 14c., “selfless; n-ble, n-bly born; abundant,” and, early 15c., in a bad sense “extravagant, unrestrained,” from old french liberal “befitting free men, n-ble, generous, willing, zealous” (12c.), from latin liberalis “n-ble, 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 inst-tutions” (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]


1820, “member of the liberal party of great britain,” from liberal (adj.). used early 20c. of less dogmatic christian churches; in reference to a political ideology not conservative or fascist but short of socialism, from c.1920.

this is the att-tude of mind which has come to be known as liberal. it implies vigorous convictions, tolerance for the opinions of others, and a persistent desire for sound progress. it is a method of approach which has played a notable and constructive part in our history, and which merits a thorough trial today in the attack on our absorbingly interesting american task. [guy emerson, “the new frontier,” 1920]

a descriptive term for persons, policies, and beliefs -ssociated with liberalism.

Read Also:

  • Anti-liberalism

    the quality or state of being , as in behavior or att-tude. a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic inst-tutions to -ssure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties. (sometimes […]

  • Anti-litter

    objects strewn or scattered about; scattered rubbish. a condition of disorder or untidiness: we were appalled at the litter of the room. a number of young brought forth by a multiparous animal at one birth: a litter of six kittens. a framework of cloth stretched between two parallel bars, for the transportation of a sick […]

  • Anti-maastrichtian

    adjective supportive of national sovereignty examples the anti-maastrichtian group seeks to restore british “freedom.” word origin the maastricht treaty of 1991 sought economic and political unity within the european community, considered by some to endanger national sovereignty. usage note politics

  • Anti-malthusian

    of or relating to the theories of t. r. , which state that population tends to increase faster, at a geometrical ratio, than the means of subsistence, which increases at an arithmetical ratio, and that this will result in an inadequate supply of the goods supporting life unless war, famine, or disease reduces the population […]

  • Antimanic

    preventing, curing, or palliating the symptoms of mania. pharmacology. a pharmacological substance used to treat mania, as lithium.

Disclaimer: Anti-liberal definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.