Adjective "illiberal" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behaviour.
  1. 'And one of the key signs that much of today's left is actually, demonstrably illiberal, intolerant and reactionary, is the way in which this is now a common feature of leftist discourse.'
  2. 'However, I think they obscure, rather than remove or defuse, the potential conflicts between liberal principles and illiberal groups.'
  3. 'And yet Scotland has changed in attitudes in the last 20 years, and is as liberal / illiberal as England.'
  4. 'Trying to bar all acknowledgments of religion by government officials in the name of preventing offense to listeners seems to me more illiberal than liberal.'
  5. 'Ours is an age of illiberal liberalism and intolerant tolerance, where we are apparently free to live as we choose - so long as we don't want the right to make ‘wrong’ choices.'
  6. 'Even the most liberal society is illiberal when it is a question of survival.'
  7. 'Since our island is in the Auckland City area we get to choose the mayor from among an assortment of National Party have-beens - a liberal one and an illiberal one - and an entrepreneur bent on not upsetting the chicken coop.'
  8. 'Instead the recent reaction to these decisions has done little to challenge the illiberal, anti-democratic drift of our time.'
  9. 'Both the existing legislation on racism, and that adumbrated by the prime minister on the ‘preachers of hate’, have an illiberal potential - that is, they do restrict freedom of expression.'
  10. 'They exploit the values of an open liberal society to reach illiberal ends.'
Uncultured or unrefined.
  1. 'They tend to be illiberal, boorish, uncultured, arrogant snobs.'
Not generous; mean.


    1. narrowminded; bigoted.

    2. Archaic. not generous in giving; miserly; niggardly; stingy. Chiefly Literary. without culture or refinement; unscholarly; vulgar.

    More examples(as adjective)

    "people can be illiberal over miners."

    "policies can be illiberal."

    "people can be illiberal."

    "orthodoxies can be illiberal."

    "traditions can be illiberal."

    More examples++


    Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘vulgar, ill-bred’): from French illibéral, from Latin illiberalis ‘mean, sordid’, from in- ‘not’ + liberalis (see liberal).