[lib-er-tair-ee-uh n]
See more synonyms for libertarian on
  1. a person who advocates liberty, especially with regard to thought or conduct.
  2. a person who maintains the doctrine of free will (distinguished from necessitarian).
  1. advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty.
  2. maintaining the doctrine of free will.

Origin of libertarian

First recorded in 1780–90; libert(y) + -arian
Related formslib·er·tar·i·an·ism, nounan·ti·lib·er·tar·i·an, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for libertarian

Contemporary Examples of libertarian

Historical Examples of libertarian

  • The case has been conceded to him in advance, and the libertarian can only flinch from his logic.

    Major Prophets of To-Day

    Edwin E. Slosson

  • It is chiefly on the Libertarian side that I find a tendency to the exaggeration of which I have just spoken.

    The Methods of Ethics

    Henry Sidgwick

  • So far I concede the Libertarian contention as to the demoralising effect of Determinism, if held with a real force of conviction.

    The Methods of Ethics

    Henry Sidgwick

  • At the same time, the difference between Determinist and Libertarian Justice can hardly have any practical effect.

    The Methods of Ethics

    Henry Sidgwick

British Dictionary definitions for libertarian


  1. a believer in freedom of thought, expression, etc
  2. philosophy a believer in the doctrine of free willCompare determinism
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a libertarian
Derived Formslibertarianism, noun

Word Origin for libertarian

C18: from liberty
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 libertarian

1789, "one who holds the doctrine of free will" (opposed to necessitarian), from liberty (q.v.) on model of unitarian, etc. Political sense of "person advocating liberty in thought and conduct" is from 1878. As an adjective by 1882. U.S. Libertarian Party founded in Colorado, 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper