Happen to see the term Luddite recently and wonder its meaning? Read on to discover the meaning of luddite, its background, history, and more!
Luddite is an old term that isn’t used that often amongst younger crowds. Still, many people do drop the word Luddite into sentences, and it’s important to understand what it means if you hear it. Today, we’ll learn what Luddite means and where it comes from.
What Does Luddite Mean?
According to the Dictionary of the English language, a luddite a person that is resistant or opposed to technological change or new technologies. Simply put, a person that has a general distaste for technology, primarily in “job threatening devices.”
This definition stems from a group of textile workers from England, mechanics,, and artisans who, in February of 1811, organized a protest that involved destroying new manufacturing machinery, which they had feared to be depriving them of work.
The original Luddites, who objected to the increased use of knitting frames and mechanized looms, coined their name from a young textile apprentice rumored to share their stance.
Most of these artisans had trained for years, honing their craft and fine-tuning their every move; they feared most that the unskilled machine operators would rob them of their very livelihood.
How Can Luddite Be Used in a Sentence?
The term Luddite functions both as an adjective and as a noun. The term Luddism categorizes the character and attitude of the Luddites. The L in Luddite is primarily capitalized; that being said, as time goes and if the word remains in our language, this capitalization may change.
Luddite can be used in numerous different sentences to have its older, more direct meaning or the more modern and broader definition; below, you will find a few sentences provided by the fine folks at Word Hippo:
- Here in the Midwest, do we apply the Luddite mentality and return to the scythe and pitchfork?
- Tyronne’s only appearance in front of the House of Lords was in defense of the Luddite movement.
- Despite what your Luddite peers may be saying to you, no, you do not need psychiatric help, just trust me.
- Kerry has a cranky Luddite streak, and I really think she may be embellishing that fact for attention.
- What we see here is nothing more than a Luddite approach to grappling with some serious issues.
What is the Origin of Luddite?
Allegedly, and as per the etymology, the name Luddite came from the 18th century Leicestershire workman, Ned Ludd.
According to a story first told in the early 19th-century, Ned Ludd smashed two machines in the late 1700s, but like the Robin Hood tales of the past, there is no true evidence that Ludd even existed. Like Robin Hood, Ludd was said to reside in the Sherwood Forest.
Ludd would become more well known as a mythical leader of the Luddite movement; these protestors would even go so far as to claim they were following orders from the great “king Ludd” as well as “general Ludd.”
What Are Antonyms and Synonyms of Luddite?
Synonyms and antonyms can help you better understand the definition of a word, but they can also help you get a better grasp of the general English language.
A synonym is a word that has a similar or same meaning to the original word, whereas an antonym has the opposite meaning. Below is a list of synonyms and antonyms of the word Luddite:
While we are only able to truly find a singular synonym for Luddite (technophobe), there are a wide variety of antonyms of Luddite. Consult a thesaurus to find even more antonyms for Luddite!
British Government and the Luddites
In 1811, the first major instance of machine breaking took place in Nottingham, soon spreading like wildfire across the English countryside. Machine-breaking Luddites burned down factories, at times exchanging gunfire with factory owners, security, and soldiers alike.
These skilled workers had hopes that these Luddite activities (called “Luddite riots” at the time) would deter their boss or bosses from installing the expensive machinery that was so quickly destroyed.
The British government had other plans and moved to suppress the uprisings by making machine-breaking punishable by death.
In April 1812, a few Luddites attacked a mill near Huddersfield and were quickly gunned down, finally bringing the unrest to its climax. In the days that followed, the British army brought into action several thousand troops to round up all these dissidents.
Some were hung upon capture while most were sent to Australia to serve their sentence, and by 1813, the Luddite resistance all but vanished.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that their name came back into the spotlight and into mainstream media as a synonym for “technophobe.”
While you may have already known its definition as the synonym for “technophobe,” you can now safely discuss the stories of General Ludd (albeit possible old-wives tales) and the tales of the English workmen that may (or may not) have had a sledgehammer in hand as they destroy new machinery.
Even if factory owners thought they were labor-saving machinery in possible hopes of better work conditions, these artisans were never able to see it this way, and some paid the ultimate price.