[kuh n-sur-vuh-tiz-uh m]


the disposition to preserve or restore what is established and traditional and to limit change.
the principles and practices of political conservatives.

Nearby words

  1. conservation of linear momentum,
  2. conservation of mass,
  3. conservation of momentum,
  4. conservation of parity,
  5. conservationist,
  6. conservative,
  7. conservative baptist,
  8. conservative jew,
  9. conservative judaism,
  10. conservative party

Origin of conservatism

First recorded in 1825–35; conservat(ive) + -ism

Related formsan·ti·con·serv·a·tism, nounhy·per·con·serv·a·tism, nouno·ver·con·serv·a·tism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for conservatism

British Dictionary definitions for conservatism



opposition to change and innovation
a political philosophy advocating the preservation of the best of the established order in society and opposing radical change


noun (in Britain, Canada, etc)

the form of conservatism advocated by the Conservative Party
the policies, doctrines, or practices of the Conservative Party
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

Word Origin and History for conservatism



1835, in reference to the Conservative party in British politics; from conservative + -ism. From 1840 in reference to conservative principles generally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for conservatism


A general preference for the existing order of society, and an opposition to efforts to bring about sharp change. (Compare liberalism.)

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