English edit

Etymology edit

From French réactionnaire.[1] Used in the time of the French revolution to refer to a person opposing the revolution; as in a person favoring a reaction to the revolution. First known usage in English in a translation of Lazare Carnot's letter on the Conspiracy of the 18th Fructidor published in London, 1799.

Pronunciation edit

  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɹiˈækʃən(ə)ɹi/
  • (file)
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ɹiˈæk.ʃəˌnɛɚ.i/, /ɹiˈæk.t͡ʃəˌnɛɚ.i/, /ɹiˈæk.ʃɪˌnɛɚ.i/, /ɹiˈæk.t͡ʃɪˌnɛɚ.i/
  • Hyphenation: re‧ac‧tion‧ary

Adjective edit

reactionary (comparative more reactionary, superlative most reactionary)

  1. (politics) Favoring a return to an alleged golden age of the past; anti-progressive.
    Synonym: regressive
    Antonyms: nonreactionary, progressive
    • 2011 September 29, Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin, New York: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, →OL, page 25:
      There's a fairly simple reason for the embrace of radicalism on the right, and it has to do with the reactionary imperative that lies at the core of conservative doctrine. [] If he is to preserve what he values, the conservative must declare war against the culture as it is.
    • 2019 August 7, Marissa Brostoff, Noah Kulwin, “The Right Kind of Continuity”, in Jewish Currents[1]:
      [Jeffrey] Epstein was interested in transhumanism, a theory of human perfection via technological manipulation that—like its predecessor, eugenics—is shot through with racist and reactionary ideas.
  2. (chemistry) Of, pertaining to, participating in, or inducing a chemical reaction.
    • 2013, Brandon Smith, Are Individuals The Property Of The Collective?[2]:
      Psychiatry extends the theory into biology in the belief that all human behavior is nothing more than a series of reactionary chemical processes in the brain that determine pre-coded genetic responses built up from the conditioning of one’s environment.
  3. In reaction to; as a result of.
    • 2020 December 16, “Network News: ORR praises Network Rail's response to pandemic”, in Rail, page 13:
      The regulator noted that reduced service levels and passenger numbers helped deliver strong performance, with fewer reactionary delays.

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Noun edit

reactionary (plural reactionaries)

  1. (politics) One who is opposed to progress and change and wants to reverse it, wishing for a return to an alleged golden age of the past.
    • 1921, Valentine Chirol, India, Old and New[3]:
      Hindu reactionaries, whose conception of a well-ordered society had not moved beyond the laws of Manu, fell into line for the moment with the intellectual products of the modern Indian University.
    • 2017 April, Andrew Sullivan, “The Reactionary Temptation”, in New York [Magazine][4]:
      It is not simply a conservative preference for things as they are, with a few nudges back, but a passionate loathing of the status quo and a desire to return to the past in one emotionally cathartic revolt. If conservatives are pessimistic, reactionaries are apocalyptic.

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References edit

  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “reactionary”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

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Anagrams edit