[ kuhn-sur-vuh-tiv ]
See synonyms for: conservativeconservativelyconservativeness on

  1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

  2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.

  1. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.

  2. (often initial capital letter) of or relating to the Conservative party.

  3. (initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of Conservative Jews or Conservative Judaism.

  4. having the power or tendency to conserve or preserve.

  5. Mathematics. (of a vector or vector function) having curl equal to zero; irrotational; lamellar.

  1. a person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.

  2. a supporter of conservative political policies.

  1. (initial capital letter) a member of a conservative political party, especially the Conservative party in Great Britain.

  2. a preservative.

Origin of conservative

First recorded in 1350–1400; from Late Latin conservātīvus, equivalent to Latin conservāt(us) (see conservation) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English conservatif, from Middle French, from Latin, as above

Other words from conservative

  • con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • con·serv·a·tive·ness, noun
  • an·ti·con·serv·a·tive, adjective, noun
  • an·ti·con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • an·ti·con·serv·a·tive·ness, noun
  • half-con·serv·a·tive, adjective
  • half-con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • hy·per·con·serv·a·tive, adjective, noun
  • hy·per·con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • hy·per·con·serv·a·tive·ness, noun
  • non·con·ser·va·tive, adjective, noun
  • o·ver·con·serv·a·tive, adjective
  • o·ver·con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·con·serv·a·tive·ness, noun
  • pseu·do·con·serv·a·tive, adjective
  • pseu·do·con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • qua·si-con·serv·a·tive, adjective
  • qua·si-con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • sem·i·con·serv·a·tive, adjective
  • sem·i·con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • su·per·con·serv·a·tive, adjective
  • su·per·con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • su·per·con·serv·a·tive·ness, noun
  • un·con·serv·a·tive, adjective
  • un·con·serv·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·con·serv·a·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use conservative in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for conservative (1 of 2)


/ (kənˈsɜːvətɪv) /

  1. favouring the preservation of established customs, values, etc, and opposing innovation

  2. of, characteristic of, or relating to conservatism

  1. tending to be moderate or cautious: a conservative estimate

  2. conventional in style or type: a conservative suit

  3. med (of treatment) designed to alleviate symptoms: Compare radical (def. 4)

  4. physics a field of force, system, etc, in which the work done moving a body from one point to another is independent of the path taken between them: electrostatic fields of force are conservative

  1. a person who is reluctant to change or consider new ideas; conformist

  2. a supporter or advocate of conservatism

adjective, noun
  1. a less common word for preservative

Derived forms of conservative

  • conservatively, adverb
  • conservativeness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Conservative (2 of 2)


/ (kənˈsɜːvətɪv) /

adjective(in Britain, Canada, and elsewhere)
  1. of, supporting, or relating to a Conservative Party

  2. of, relating to, or characterizing Conservative Judaism

  1. a supporter or member of a 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 conservative


A descriptive term for persons, policies, and beliefs associated with conservatism.

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.