a person who refuses to conform, as to established customs, attitudes, or ideas.
(often initial capital letter) a Protestant in England who is not a member of the Church of England; dissenter.

Origin of nonconformist

First recorded in 1610–20; non- + conformist

Synonyms for nonconformist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nonconformists

Historical Examples of nonconformists

  • At first the leaders of the migration were Nonconformists not Separatists.

    The Fathers of New England

    Charles M. Andrews

  • Ranters, Wesleyans, and other Nonconformists were regarded as heretics.

  • The Nonconformists still formed an important part of the City.

  • A large proportion of them are Nonconformists—principally Methodists.

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

  • Have you ever noticed how it is that the nonconformists in any society are usually crackpots?


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for nonconformists



a person who does not conform to generally accepted patterns of behaviour or thought


of or characterized by behaviour that does not conform to generally accepted patterns
Derived Formsnonconformism, noun



a member of a Protestant denomination that dissents from an Established Church, esp the Church of England


of, relating to, or denoting Nonconformists
Derived FormsNonconformity or Nonconformism, noun
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

nonconformists in Culture


Protestants in England in the seventeenth century and afterward who refused to belong to the Church of England, which was the established church (see also established church) for Protestants in the country. Many Protestant churches in the United States, such as the Congregationalists, are rooted in the teachings of the English Nonconformists. The Nonconformists are also called Dissenters.

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.