of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, especially extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.

noun, plural re·ac·tion·ar·ies.

a reactionary person.

Sometimes re·ac·tion·ist [ree-ak-shuh-nist] /riˈæk ʃə nɪst/.

Origin of reactionary

1830–40; reaction + -ary; compare French réactionnaire
Related formsre·ac·tion·ism, re·ac·tion·ar·y·ism, re·ac·tion·ar·ism [ree-ak-shuh-nuh-riz-uhm] /riˈæk ʃə nəˌrɪz əm/, nounan·ti·re·ac·tion·ar·y, noun, plural an·ti·re·ac·tion·ar·ies, adjectivehalf-re·ac·tion·ar·y, adjectivenon·re·ac·tion·ar·y, adjective, noun, plural non·re·ac·tion·ar·ies.sem·i·re·ac·tion·ar·y, adjective, noun, plural sem·i·re·ac·tion·ar·ies.un·re·ac·tion·ar·y, adjective
Can be confusedproactive reactionary reactive

Synonyms for reactionary

Antonyms for reactionary

1, 2. radical. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reactionist

Historical Examples of reactionist

British Dictionary definitions for reactionist




of, relating to, or characterized by reaction, esp against radical political or social change

noun plural -aries or -ists

a person opposed to radical change
Derived Formsreactionism, 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

Word Origin and History for reactionist



1831, on model of French réactionnaire (19c.), from réaction (see reaction). In Marxist use, "tending toward reversing existing tendencies," opposed to revolutionary and used opprobriously in reference to opponents of communism, by 1858. As a noun, "person considered reactionary," especially in politics, one who seeks to check or undo political action, by 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

reactionist in Culture


An extremely conservative person or position that not only resists change but seeks to return to the “good old days” of an earlier social order.

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.