• synonyms


  1. a person who is loyal; a supporter of the sovereign or of the existing government, especially in time of revolt.
  2. (sometimes initial capital letter) a person who remained loyal to the British during the American Revolution; Tory.
  3. (initial capital letter) an adherent of the republic during the Spanish Civil War, opposed to Franco.
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Origin of loyalist

First recorded in 1640–50; loyal + -ist
Related formsloy·al·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for loyalism

Historical Examples

  • Punishment for loyalism was not, however, left merely to chance.

    Washington and his Comrades in Arms

    George Wrong

  • (e) Designs of rulers, giving rise to popular or aristocratic factions—complicated by questions of succession and loyalism.

  • It was part of his loyalism to hate them and to interpret for the worst anything they could do or say.

  • Loyalism became an attitude of protective chivalry; nothing could have consolidated the dynasty more firmly.

    General Bramble

    Andr Maurois

  • A man suspected of loyalism would be summoned to a meeting of the "sons of liberty," and ordered to take an oath to them.

British Dictionary definitions for loyalism


  1. a patriotic supporter of his sovereign or government
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Derived Formsloyalism, noun


  1. (in Northern Ireland) any of the Protestants wishing to retain Ulster's link with Britain
  2. (in North America) an American colonist who supported Britain during the War of American Independence
  3. (in Canada) short for United Empire Loyalist
  4. (during the Spanish Civil War) a supporter of the republican government
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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 loyalism


1812, from loyal + -ism.

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1680s, from loyal + -ist. Meaning different persons in different times and places.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper