[tawr-ee, tohr-ee]
See more synonyms for Tory on
noun, plural To·ries, for 1–5.
  1. a member of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada.
  2. a member of a political party in Great Britain from the late 17th century to about 1832 that favored royal authority over Parliament and the preservation of the existing social and political order: succeeded by the Conservative party.
  3. (often lowercase) an advocate of conservative principles; one opposed to reform or radicalism.
  4. a person who supported the British cause in the American Revolution; a loyalist.
  5. (in the 17th century) a dispossessed Irishman who resorted to banditry, especially after the invasion of Oliver Cromwell and suppression of the royalist cause (1649–52).
  6. a male or female given name.
  1. of, belonging to, or characteristic of the Tories.
  2. being a Tory.
  3. (sometimes lowercase) opposed to reform or radicalism; conservative.

Origin of Tory

1640–50; < Irish *tóraighe outlaw, bandit, derivative of tóir chase, pursuit Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tories

Contemporary Examples of tories

Historical Examples of tories

  • The Tories had a great majority of the new members returned.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Tories and Liberals knew he had not shrunk from meeting the public on this question.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Tories and Peers especially were enraged, and regarded themselves as baffled.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Why, Tryon County ought, by all the rules, to be the Tories' strongest citadel.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • He is a free-thinker and a republican—we are church people and Tories.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

British Dictionary definitions for tories


noun plural -ries
  1. a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada
  2. a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s
  3. an American supporter of the British cause; loyalistCompare Whig
  4. (sometimes not capital) an ultraconservative or reactionary
  5. (in the 17th century) an Irish Roman Catholic, esp an outlaw who preyed upon English settlers
  1. of, characteristic of, or relating to Tories
  2. (sometimes not capital) ultraconservative or reactionary
Derived FormsToryish, adjectiveToryism, noun

Word Origin for Tory

C17: from Irish tōraidhe outlaw, from Middle Irish tōir pursuit
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 tories



1566, "an outlaw," specifically "a robber," from Irish toruighe "plunderer," originally "pursuer, searcher," from Old Irish toirighim "I pursue," related to toracht "pursuit." About 1646, it emerged as a derogatory term for Irish Catholics dispossessed of their land (some of whom subsequently turned to outlawry); c.1680 applied by Exclusioners to supporters of the Catholic Duke of York (later James II) in his succession to the throne of England. After 1689, Tory was the name of a British political party at first composed of Yorkist Tories of 1680. Superseded c.1830 by Conservative, though it continues to be used colloquially. In American history, Tory was the name given after 1769 to colonists who remained loyal to George III of England.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tories in Culture


A political party in Britain, also called the Conservative party. In the late eighteenth century, the Tories took form as defenders of the king and stability and of established interests in Britain; they advised caution in making political and social change. Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli, and Margaret Thatcher belonged to the party.

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.