Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


But among the veteran speculators the feeling was conservative.

It is a negative power, and is conservative in its character.

He was strongly opposed by the Conservative Marquis of Chandos.

I tried to be conservative in my description, because I did not wish to be accused of exaggeration.

She is the living, distilled essence of Conservative mothers.

The Egyptians were an agricultural and a conservative people.

Conservative critics have talked of Godwin's "coldness" because he could reason.

What might not be expected from this most conservative of pioneers?

It is far better to be too liberal in ditch allowance than to be too conservative.

There was no Conservative party, nor a Liberal party for that matter.


late 14c., conservatyf, from Middle French conservatif, from Late Latin conservativus, from Latin conservatus, past participle of conservare (see conserve).

As a modern political tradition, conservatism traces to Edmund Burke's opposition to the French Revolution (1790), but the word conservative is not found in his writing. It was coined by his French disciples, (e.g. Chateaubriand, who titled his journal defending clerical and political restoration "Le Conservateur").

Conservative as the name of a British political faction first appeared in an 1830 issue of the "Quarterly Review," in an unsigned article sometimes attributed to John Wilson Croker. It replaced Tory (q.v.) by 1843, reflecting both a change from the pejorative name (in use for 150 years) and repudiation of some reactionary policies. Extended to similar spirits in other parties from 1845.

Phrases such as a conservative estimate make no sense etymologically. The noun is attested from 1831, originally in the British political sense.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.