[lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl]



a person of liberal principles or views, especially in politics or religion.
(often initial capital letter) a member of a liberal party in politics, especially of the Liberal party in Great Britain.

Origin of liberal

1325–75; Middle English < Latin līberālis of freedom, befitting the free, equivalent to līber free + -ālis -al1
Related formslib·er·al·ly, adverblib·er·al·ness, nounan·ti·lib·er·al, adjective, nounan·ti·lib·er·al·ly, adverban·ti·lib·er·al·ness, nounhalf-lib·er·al, adjectivehalf-lib·er·al·ly, adverbnon·lib·er·al, adjectiveo·ver·lib·er·al, adjectiveo·ver·lib·er·al·ly, adverbpre·lib·er·al, adjective, nounpre·lib·er·al·ly, adverbpseu·do·lib·er·al, adjective, nounpseu·do·lib·er·al·ly, adverbqua·si-lib·er·al, adjectivequa·si-lib·er·al·ly, adverbsem·i·lib·er·al, adjective, nounsem·i·lib·er·al·ly, adverbun·lib·er·al, adjectiveun·lib·er·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for liberal

Synonym study

9. See generous. 10. See ample.

Antonyms for liberal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for pseudo-liberal



relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform
relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom
giving and generous in temperament or behaviour
tolerant of other people
abundant; lavisha liberal helping of cream
not strict; freea liberal translation
of or relating to an education that aims to develop general cultural interests and intellectual ability


a person who has liberal ideas or opinions
Derived Formsliberally, adverbliberalness, noun

Word Origin for liberal

C14: from Latin līberālis of freedom, from līber free



a member or supporter of a Liberal Party or Liberal Democrat party


of or relating to a Liberal Party
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 pseudo-liberal



1820, "member of the Liberal party of Great Britain," from liberal (adj.). Used early 20c. of less dogmatic Christian churches; in reference to a political ideology not conservative or fascist but short of socialism, from c.1920.

This is the attitude of mind which has come to be known as liberal. It implies vigorous convictions, tolerance for the opinions of others, and a persistent desire for sound progress. It is a method of approach which has played a notable and constructive part in our history, and which merits a thorough trial today in the attack on our absorbingly interesting American task. [Guy Emerson, "The New Frontier," 1920]



mid-14c., "generous," also, late 14c., "selfless; noble, nobly born; abundant," and, early 15c., in a bad sense "extravagant, unrestrained," from Old French liberal "befitting free men, noble, generous, willing, zealous" (12c.), from Latin liberalis "noble, gracious, munificent, generous," literally "of freedom, pertaining to or befitting a free man," from liber "free, unrestricted, unimpeded; unbridled, unchecked, licentious," from PIE *leudh-ero- (cf. Greek eleutheros "free"), probably originally "belonging to the people" (though the precise semantic development is obscure), and a suffixed form of the base *leudh- "people" (cf. Old Church Slavonic ljudu, Lithuanian liaudis, Old English leod, German Leute "nation, people;" Old High German liut "person, people") but literally "to mount up, to grow."

With the meaning "free from restraint in speech or action," liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach. It revived in a positive sense in the Enlightenment, with a meaning "free from prejudice, tolerant," which emerged 1776-88.

In reference to education, explained by Fowler as "the education designed for a gentleman (Latin liber a free man) & ... opposed on the one hand to technical or professional or any special training, & on the other to education that stops short before manhood is reached" (cf. liberal arts). Purely in reference to political opinion, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy" it dates from c.1801, from French libéral, originally applied in English by its opponents (often in French form and with suggestions of foreign lawlessness) to the party favorable to individual political freedoms. But also (especially in U.S. politics) tending to mean "favorable to government action to effect social change," which seems at times to draw more from the religious sense of "free from prejudice in favor of traditional opinions and established institutions" (and thus open to new ideas and plans of reform), which dates from 1823.

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for pseudo-liberal


A descriptive term for persons, policies, and beliefs associated with liberalism.

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.