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[non-kuh n-fawr-mist] /ˌnɒn kənˈfɔr mɪst/
a person who refuses to conform, as to established customs, attitudes, or ideas.
(often initial capital letter) a Protestant in England who is not a member of the Church of England; dissenter.
Origin of nonconformist
First recorded in 1610-20; non- + conformist
1. dissenter, dissident, individualist, loner. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nonconformists
Historical Examples
  • At first the leaders of the migration were nonconformists not Separatists.

    The Fathers of New England Charles M. Andrews
  • Ranters, Wesleyans, and other nonconformists were regarded as heretics.

    The Shellback's Progress Walter Runciman
  • The nonconformists still formed an important part of the City.

    The History of London Walter Besant
  • A large proportion of them are nonconformists—principally Methodists.

    The Toilers of the Field Richard Jefferies
  • Have you ever noticed how it is that the nonconformists in any society are usually crackpots?


    Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Churchmen cling to it as a sheet anchor in controversy with nonconformists.

    The Parables of Our Lord William Arnot
  • nonconformists need not claim him for their own with much eagerness.

    Obiter Dicta Augustine Birrell
  • The nonconformists are timid, and dream not that the day of deliverance is at hand.

    Prisoners of Hope Mary Johnston
  • The Education Act of 1902 brought the nonconformists into action.

    Liberalism L. T. Hobhouse
  • Indeed no body even of the nonconformists does so except the Plymouth Brethren.

    General Gordon

    Seton Churchill
British Dictionary definitions for nonconformists


a person who does not conform to generally accepted patterns of behaviour or thought
of or characterized by behaviour that does not conform to generally accepted patterns
Derived Forms
nonconformism, noun


a member of a Protestant denomination that dissents from an Established Church, esp the Church of England
of, relating to, or denoting Nonconformists
Derived Forms
Nonconformity, Nonconformism, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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nonconformists in Culture

Nonconformists definition

Protestants in England in the seventeenth century and afterward who refused to belong to the Church of England, which was the established church for Protestants in the country. Many Protestant churches in the United States, such as the Congregationalists, are rooted in the teachings of the English Nonconformists. The Nonconformists are also called Dissenters.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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