Leftist Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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Leftist is a term often used as a general descriptor for people with extreme political views. They’re usually on the left side of the political spectrum, meaning they lean more toward liberalism than conservatism. 

For example, some leftists might be socialists or communists, while others might support communism in theory but not in practice. In the United States, many leftists are members of the Democratic Party and Green Party — others identify with different ideologies like anarchism or Trotskyism. 

This article will explore why “leftist” has become such a common epithet against those who don’t share similar beliefs as those who identify themselves under its banner, like republicans. This is everything you need to know about the definition of leftist, what these people believe, and how they are different from people who are more politically right-wing. 

What Does Leftist Mean? 

The term “leftist” (ˈlɛftɪst, ˈleftɪst, leftist) is used to describe a political ideology that’s considered to be on the left side of a political spectrum. It can also refer to people who hold left-wing ideologies.

Leftists are often associated with socialism, communism, democratic socialism, social democracy, and neo-Marxism. Leftists may or may not consider themselves “leftist,” depending on the political party they support or if they even support any specific party. However, many people who self-identify as leftists will share certain beliefs about how society should operate together with their fellow citizens.

Regardless of their differences, the types of leftism can be grouped together by a shared desire to move away from the status quo toward a more equal future.

If you were to look in a thesaurus for word lists of synonyms for the word leftist, you would likely find words and phrases including: 

  • Left-of-center
  • Left-winger
  • Liberal
  • Progressive
  • Reformist
  • Leftie

What Do Leftists Believe? 

Leftist is a political term that describes people whose political views are more liberal and progressive than those of centrists, moderates, populists, or conservatives. 

The word “leftist” has been used since the mid-1800s to describe people who support government intervention in the economy, with policies such as higher taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations. It’s also used to refer to people who believe there should be equality between races, genders, and classes.

If you’re talking about political beliefs, a “leftist” is someone who believes that radical change is necessary to create a better society. Today, it’s used to describe people on both ends of the political spectrum but usually refers to those who want massive overhauls of current institutions and government policies (think of politicians like Bernie Sanders).

Leftist parties can be found in many countries around the world. In Western Europe and North America, they tend to be socialists or social democrats. In Eastern Europe, they are often Communists, while Asian Communist parties often call themselves left-wing rather than Marxist-Leninists (although these terms refer mainly to economic policy).

Leftist political theories and leftist groups focus on human rights for all people, especially those not in power, known as proletariats. They believe that everyone should be treated equally and have equal access to resources. 

This includes needs like healthcare, shelter, food, and education. Leftists also believe that working-class people need to be given access to these same things to work towards a better future for themselves and their families.

How Are Leftists and Rightists Different? 

Rightists and leftists are different in several ways. Rightists tend to be more conservative, which means they’re less likely to support liberal ideas and more likely to support opposing values.

Leftists often advocate for progressive policies and positions that may differ from those of right-wingers. In addition, leftists are typically more politically active than right-wingers (for example, voting in elections or contacting politicians).

Left-wingers also tend not to be religious as right-wingers do; however, some groups within leftism — such as anarchists — have no set political beliefs or party affiliation. This can make defining leftism challenging since there isn’t one definition that fits everyone who identifies with being a leftist!

What Are the Main Leftist Political Parties in America? 

The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States. It has a center-left ideology and is generally considered more liberal than its counterpart, the Republican Party. Democrats advocate for universal health care coverage, higher taxes on the wealthy; stricter gun control laws; and more stringent environmental regulations. 

In government, they are often seen as being pro-union and pro-labor but against big business interests such as those of oil companies or banks (though they have also worked with these institutions occasionally). This means that their platforms often include raising minimum wage requirements or offering tax cuts to working families while increasing taxes on corporations with higher profits.

The Green Party, a left-wing political party in the United States, focuses on environmental issues and social justice. The party was founded in 2001 by members of the Green movement involved with Ralph Nader’s presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000.

The Green Party is one of many parties that make up the political left in the United States. It has been described as both left-wing and progressive. In addition to promoting environmentalism, it also supports measures designed to promote social justice.


Understanding the modern political climate in the world today is all about being able to communicate clearly. If you don’t know exactly what someone is saying, it can often lead to a lack of clarity and frustrating misunderstandings. 

That’s precisely why The Word Counter exists—to be a resource for enhancing people’s ability to communicate effectively. If there are any confusing words, phrases, or grammar rules that you’ve come across, feel free to check out our blog. We have countless articles and posts about maneuvering your way through even the toughest of language rules! 

If you want to learn more about Modern American English and how it’s used in the world today, check out some of our latest blog posts right here


Leftist Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com

Leftist definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

Leftist – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms | Vocabulary.com