1. of or relating to activism or activists: an activist organization for environmental concern.
  2. advocating or opposing a cause or issue vigorously, especially a political cause: Activist opponents of the president picketed the White House.

Origin of activist

First recorded in 1905–10; active + -ist
Related formsnon·ac·tiv·ist, adjective, noun
Can be confusedactivist pacifist passivist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for non-activist



"one who advocates a doctrine of direct action," 1915; from active + -ist. Originally in reference to political forces in Sweden advocating abandonment of neutrality in World War I and active support for the Central Powers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper