- narrowminded; bigoted.
- not generous in giving; miserly; niggardly; stingy.
- Chiefly Literary.without culture or refinement; unscholarly; vulgar.
Origin of illiberal
SynonymsSee more synonyms for illiberal on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for illiberal
Which was the right thing to be, after all, because communism is as illiberal as fascism.Lauren Bacall Was Deeply Liberal and Deeply Anti-Communist
August 13, 2014
The refugees and civilian leaders believe the illiberal rhetoric from their armed allies reflect fundraising, not ideology.A New Start To U.S. Policy In Syria Can Save Lives
February 17, 2014
Prohibition (aka, the “war on drugs”) is an illiberal failure.D.C. Needs a Grassroots Fix That Will Come When Left and Right Find Common Ground
February 9, 2014
These days, instead, we witness elections followed by majoritarian mob rule—what Fareed Zakaria has called “illiberal democracy.”George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Our Era of Bipartisan Ineptitude
July 7, 2013
And this worldview clashes not only with the secular left and illiberal right in the government.Women Of The Wall And The Culture Clash In Israel
March 13, 2013
First, Harsh and illiberal conduct on the part of the Banks.Trade and Travel in the Far East
G. F. Davidson
When I asked what made them illiberal, he answered, "It is because they are liberal."
He is the expounder of Revolution in its compulsory and illiberal aspect.
Too illiberal, you think; and what would Mr. J. S. Mill say?The Crown of Wild Olive
For friendship is noble and refined, whereas pleasure is vulgar and illiberal.Plutarch's Morals
- narrow-minded; prejudiced; bigoted; intolerant
- not generous; mean
- lacking in culture or refinement
Word Origin and History for illiberal
1530s, "ungentlemanly, base, mean," from Middle French illiberal (14c.), from Latin illiberalis "ungenerous, mean, sordid; unworthy of a freeman," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + liberalis (see liberal). A sense of "narrow-minded politically; unconcerned with the rights or liberties of others" is attested from 1640s, and might conceivably be revived to take up some of the burden that drags down conservative.