[ kuh n-sur-vuh-tiz-uh m ]
/ kənˈsɜr vəˌtɪz əm /


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

Origin of conservatism

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

OTHER WORDS FROM conservatism

an·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. 2020

Examples from the Web for conservatism

British Dictionary definitions for conservatism (1 of 2)

/ (kənˈsɜːvəˌtɪzəm) /


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

British Dictionary definitions for conservatism (2 of 2)

/ (kənˈsɜːvəˌtɪzəm) /

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

Cultural 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.