One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behaviour.‘illiberal and anti-democratic policies’
intolerant, narrow-minded, unenlightened, puritanical, fundamentalistView synonyms
- ‘But does this say anything about the relations likely to develop between liberal and illiberal states?’
- ‘Trying to bar all acknowledgments of religion by government officials in the name of preventing offense to listeners seems to me more illiberal than liberal.’
- ‘Liberal Democrats have rejected illiberal measures to tackle crime as ineffective and a threat to civil liberties.’
- ‘But just how far should and may the liberal state go to curb illiberal behavior?’
- ‘And one of the key signs that much of today's left is actually, demonstrably illiberal, intolerant and reactionary, is the way in which this is now a common feature of leftist discourse.’
- ‘Increasingly, the US has used a combination of punitive and rewarding strategies to spread liberal ideas in previously illiberal parts of the world.’
- ‘Is this state of affairs an acceptable result of a pluralistic liberal system, or is there something fundamentally illiberal about American politics today?’
- ‘Hence, it seems that the appeal to ‘tolerance’ does not resolve the conflict between liberal values and illiberal minorities.’
- ‘They exploit the values of an open liberal society to reach illiberal ends.’
- ‘And yet Scotland has changed in attitudes in the last 20 years, and is as liberal / illiberal as England.’
- ‘Even the most liberal society is illiberal when it is a question of survival.’
- ‘If we must choose between a society that is in fact liberal and an illiberal society that scrupulously avoids formal racial criteria, we can hardly appeal to the ideals of liberal pluralism to prefer the latter.’
- ‘Far more than wanting smokers to stub their fags out, I want the illiberal liberals now running health policy to butt out of people's personal habits.’
- ‘Since our island is in the Auckland City area we get to choose the mayor from among an assortment of National Party have-beens - a liberal one and an illiberal one - and an entrepreneur bent on not upsetting the chicken coop.’
- ‘However, I think they obscure, rather than remove or defuse, the potential conflicts between liberal principles and illiberal groups.’
- ‘Both the existing legislation on racism, and that adumbrated by the prime minister on the ‘preachers of hate’, have an illiberal potential - that is, they do restrict freedom of expression.’
- ‘Instead the recent reaction to these decisions has done little to challenge the illiberal, anti-democratic drift of our time.’
- ‘It's time they had the courage to join the Liberal Democrats in opposing this expensive and illiberal measure.’
- ‘Ours is an age of illiberal liberalism and intolerant tolerance, where we are apparently free to live as we choose - so long as we don't want the right to make ‘wrong’ choices.’
- ‘In the increasingly illiberal world of orthodox liberalism, competing ideas are answered not by argument but by a pose of moral superiority and by-the-book invective.’
2archaic Uncultured or unrefined.
uncultured, uncultivated, unrefined, lowbrow, philistine, uneducated, unpolished, provincial, rusticView synonyms
- ‘They tend to be illiberal, boorish, uncultured, arrogant snobs.’
- ‘We are not so much worried about being convicted of being illiberal as having the charge even raised in the first place.’
3archaic Not generous; mean.
thrifty, economical, frugal, canny, careful, prudent, cautious, abstemious, saving, energy-efficient, energy-saving, fuel-efficient, fuel-saving, scrimping, parsimoniousView synonyms
- ‘He is avaricious and ambitious, I fear ungenerous and illiberal; is destitute of heroic daring.’
Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘vulgar, ill-bred’): from French illibéral, from Latin illiberalis ‘mean, sordid’, from in- ‘not’ + liberalis (see liberal).
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