Conservative Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Have you heard the word conservative before? This article will tell you everything that you need to know about the meaning of conservative.

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There are a ton of Americans who call themselves “conservative.” What exactly does the word conservative mean, and where did it come from?

You have questions, and we have answers. Read on as we explore the term conservative to uncover its definition, origin, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Conservative?

If we turn to any of the various trusted English Dictionaries, we see that there are a few definitions for the word conservative. You will find a list below of these definitions of conservative; use this to get up to speed with all of its meanings and uses easily!

As per Cambridge Dictionary, conservative is an adjective defined as believing in the value of tradition and established practices, be it in everyday society or politics — for instance, a conservative blog writer or a conservative politician. 

The adjective conservative can also be defined as any person that usually does not like or trust change and will simply not tolerate sudden change. 

You can also be considered conservative in your appearance. In this case, many may not consider you to be fashionable or “in the know” with any of the modern hairstyles, looks,, or modern clothes, for that matter. 

One of the most commonly used examples is that our grandparents tend to be considered more conservative than others and a bit warier of anything new.

The word conservative can be used as a noun or an adjective. 

As a noun, conservative refers to any person that may be reluctant to accept new ideas or changes. Additionally, it can be used as a noun to reference support or member of any number of conservative political parties (more commonly used in this context in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom).

What Is the Origin of Conservative?

The etymology behind the word conservative begins in the late 14th century. Conservative is a derivative of Latin conservatus, Old French conservatif, and, Medieval Latin conservativus. It wasn’t until much later in 1843 when conservative was used as the name of a British Political party, replacing the then used “Tory.”

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Conservative?

To improve your understanding of the word conservative, it can be helpful to learn its synonyms and antonyms. 

Synonyms are phrases or words that have the same or similar meaning. They are an outstanding way to further our understanding of conservative.


  • Republicanism
  • Dyed in the wool
  • Die-hard 
  • Traditionalist 
  • Orthodox
  • Neoconservative
  • Paleoconservative 
  • Right-winger
  • Conventional
  • Old guard
  • Fundamentalist
  • Old fashionable
  • Tory
  • Ultra right
  • Stick in the mud
  • Old school
  • Set in one’s ways
  • Unprogressive
  • Rightist
  • Ultraconservative 
  • Button-down
  • Middle of the road
  • Right-wing
  • Fuddy Duddy

Let’s now shift our attention to words we can use to convey the opposite meaning of our message, words that have the opposite meaning in comparison to conservative — antonyms. 

You need not open your trusty thesaurus as we have listed various antonyms of conservative below:


  • Liberal
  • To the left
  • Nontraditional 
  • Progressive
  • Leftist
  • Nonconservative 
  • Open minded
  • Bohemian
  • Left wing
  • Unconventional 
  • Avant garde
  • Left 
  • Rule breaker
  • Futuristic 
  • Speculative
  • Broad minded
  • Left leaning
  • Socialist
  • Splendiferous
  • State of the art

How Can You Use Conservative in a Sentence?

Now it’s time to put pen to paper and quiz yourself by seeing how many example sentences you can conjure up using the word conservative. 

To provide a little cheat sheet and help guide you on your journey in understanding the meaning of conservative, we have listed a few example sentences below: 

Jimmy will always be a die hard traditionalist, he takes a conservative approach with all things in his life.

I saw that Tory is wearing a conversative suit today. I think that’s a great choice since later we will all be attending the first meeting of our local conservative political party.

I’m aware the contractor was giving us a conservative estimate but I am confident it won’t raise too much when all is said and done.

As I got to know Jane more and more, I learned that she was a card-carrying member of Britain’s Conservative Party.

What Are Translations of Conservative?

As you take to the internet to converse with friends about the word of the day in various areas around the world, you may need to translate conservative into another language. 

Fret not! Below you will find a list of translations of conservative — provided by Collins English Dictionary

  • Arabic — مُحَافِظ
  • Chinese — 保守的
  • Czech — konzervativní
  • Dutch — conservatief
  • Finnish — konservatiivinen
  • German — konservativ
  • Italian — conservatore
  • Japanese — 保守的な
  • Norwegian — konservativ
  • European Portuguese: — conservador
  • Russian — консервативный
  • Swedish — konservativ
  • Turkish: tutucu
  • Vietnamese — bảo thủ
  • Brazilian Portuguese — conservador
  • Croatian — konzervativan
  • Danish — konservativ
  • European Spanish — conservador
  • French — conservateur, politique
  • Greek — συντηρητικός
  • Ukrainian — консервативний
  • Thai — ซึ่งมีแนวคิดอนุรักษ์นิยม
  • Romanian — conservator
  • Polish — konserwatywny
  • Korean — 보수적인

Bottom Line

In short, though you may very well be, you need not be a card-carrying member of the Republican Party to be considered conservative you just have to be resistant to change. 


  1. Conservative definition and meaning | Collins Unabridged English Dictionary 
  2. Conservative | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Conservative English Definition and Meaning | 
  4. Conservative : Definition | The Cambridge Unabridged English Dictionary