From Middle French illibéral, from Latin illiberalis


illiberal (comparative more illiberal, superlative most illiberal)

  1. Restrictive to individual choice and freedom.
    • 2005, Washington Post, February 20,
      Unless the administration compels all workers to invest in life cycle accounts -- an illiberal but nonetheless sensible idea -- this particular danger cannot be eliminated.
    • 2004, Jerusalem Post, December 15,
      Behind Europe's commitment to liberal democracy lurks an illiberal tradition. Every time freedom has failed in Europe, it is to that tradition - of violent repression, totalitarianism, xenophobia, and intolerance - that Europeans have reverted.
  2. narrow-minded; bigoted
    • 1781, William Robertson, The history of Scotland during the reigns of Queen Mary and of King James IV, volume II, page 141:
      Accordingly, that form of Popery, which prevailed in Scotland, was of the moſt bigotted and illiberal kind.
    • 1894, John Marshall Barker, “The Planting of Colleges in the New World”, in Colleges in America, page 29:
      While they maintained a denominational character, they were in nowise illiberal, and set up no religious test for entrance.
  3. ungenerous, stingy
    • 1901, Justin McCarthy, Justin Huntly McCarthy, A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, volume IV:
      ...the final offer made on the part of the King was that the Queen should have an allowance of 52,000 pounds a year— not, one would have thought, a very illiberal allowance for the daughter of a small German prince...
    • 1917, Bertrand Russell, “Chapter II: Capitalism and the Wage System”, in Political Ideals:
      The few who are more fortunate are rendered illiberal by their unjust privileges, and oppressive through fear of the awakening indignation of the masses. From the highest to the lowest, almost all men are absorbed in the economic struggle: the struggle to acquire what is their due or to retain what is not their due.




Last modified on 11 April 2014, at 04:55