Definition of Fabian in English:



  • A member or supporter of the Fabian Society, an organization of socialists aiming to achieve socialism by gradual rather than revolutionary means.

    • ‘When he began to write, Britain had long since abandoned the principle of laissez-faire. That was the achievement of such men as Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin and, especially, of the Fabians.’
    • ‘Thus, neither the Fabians nor the ethical socialists showed much sympathy for the strong democratic programme of the S.D.F.’
    • ‘Until the rise of Third World national liberation movements, some of empire's staunchest advocates were liberals, among them British Fabians and American Progressives.’
    • ‘To the Fabians, Morris was, of course, was one of the great social prophets and Whitman the great singer.’
    • ‘Meanwhile Attlee became committed to socialism, joining the Fabians in 1907 and the Independent Labour Party in 1908.’
    • ‘In 1903 he joined the Fabians and, discontented with their excessive gradualism, quit them after just a few years.’
    • ‘When I joined the Fabians in 1992, Labour had just lost its fourth election in a row.’
    • ‘The Fabians, coming out of this tradition, often defined democracy as representative government, seeing comparatively little need for other measures to strengthen the popular element within the state.’
    • ‘There aren't even very many leftists - even Fabians and Demosites - coming up with specific domestic policy bright ideas.’
    • ‘For the Fabians addressed themselves to the existing intelligentsia: they were not a popular movement.’
    • ‘Keynes' monetary paradigm fit the Fabians perfectly, and they in turn fit with his desires to insidiously overturn the classical free-market order via monetary debasement and progressive taxation.’
    • ‘The Fabians aimed to influence government and affect policy by permeation rather than by direct power, and to provide the research and analysis to support their own views and introduce them to others.’
    • ‘A few months ago, a leading Labor politician told me that the ALP, throughout the Cold War, had had three main factions: the Fabians, the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats.’
    • ‘Two years later, certain Fabians decided it was high time to systematize the study of economics and created the London School of Economics.’
    • ‘Of course, Polanyi also ignores very important actual conspiracies like the Fabians.’
    • ‘Reeves became a close friend of Sidney and Beatrice Webb and George Bernard Shaw and other Fabians.’
    • ‘The Fabians exerted a strong ideological influence on the Labour Party as the chief alternative to revolutionary Marxism.’
    • ‘In Great Britain, the Fabians advocated incremental reform and a political strategy of ‘permeation,’ or working through established political parties.’
    • ‘There he met English socialists and Fabians such as George Bernard Shaw, whose ideas contributed greatly to the shaping of his personality and politics.’
    • ‘The Fabians do not appreciate the dangers of politicising the Speakership.’


  • 1Relating to or characteristic of the Fabians.

    ‘the Fabian movement’
    • ‘The dominant agenda grew from the Fabian perspective.’
    • ‘In 1947, writing for an influential intellectual magazine he edited, this Fabian Confucianist none the less remained suspicious of the Communists' dictatorial tendencies.’
    • ‘I was speaking at a Fabian seminar on education policy.’
    • ‘So that should make a Fabian audience sit up and think twice.’
    • ‘It was the domination of western style thinking and the growing preoccupation of the new regimes with Fabian style thinking that came in the way of citizens of the world, facing a new historical reality, together realising a better world.’
    left-wing, fabian, syndicalist, utopian socialist
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    1. 1.1Employing a cautiously persistent and dilatory strategy to wear out an enemy.
      ‘Fabian tactics’
      • ‘Next, a Fabian strategy necessarily gives up ground.’
      • ‘Advocates point out that the South had enormous space and could have adopted a Fabian strategy of battle avoidance.’
      • ‘A popular strategic approach for smaller, weaker states, Fabian Strategy has its roots in the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome.’
      • ‘For example, some of the economic implications of a Fabian strategy arise in the discussions of both the impact of the goal of slavery and the goal of independence on Southern strategy.’
      delaying, stalling, temporizing, procrastinating, postponing, deferring, putting off, tabling, shelving
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Late 18th century: from the name of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus(see Fabius).