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  1. of, pertaining to, characterized by, or of the nature of a revolution, or a sudden, complete, or marked change: a revolutionary junta.
  2. radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure, principles, etc.: a revolutionary discovery.
  3. (initial capital letter) of or relating to the American Revolution or to the period contemporaneous with it in U.S. history: Revolutionary heroes; Revolutionary weapons.
  4. revolving.
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noun, plural rev·o·lu·tion·ar·ies.
  1. a revolutionist.
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Origin of revolutionary

First recorded in 1765–75; revolution + -ary
Related formsrev·o·lu·tion·ar·i·ly, adverbrev·o·lu·tion·ar·i·ness, nounan·ti·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, noun, plural an·ti·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·ies, adjectivenon·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjective, noun, plural non·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·ies.post-Rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjectivepre·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjectivepro·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjectivesem·i·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjective, noun, plural sem·i·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·ies.ul·tra·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjective, noun, plural ul·tra·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·ies.un·rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for pre-revolutionary

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for pre-revolutionary


  1. mainly US of or relating to the conflict or period of the War of American Independence (1775–83)
  2. of or relating to any of various other Revolutions, esp the Russian Revolution (1917) or the French Revolution (1789)
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noun plural -aries
  1. a person who advocates or engages in revolution
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  1. relating to or characteristic of a revolution
  2. advocating or engaged in revolution
  3. radically new or differenta revolutionary method of making plastics
  4. rotating or revolving
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Derived Formsrevolutionarily, adverb
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 pre-revolutionary



1774; see revolution + -ary. As a noun, from 1850 (cf revolutionist).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper