"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[ree-ak-shuh-ner-ee] /riˈæk ʃəˌnɛr i/
of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, especially extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.
noun, plural reactionaries.
a reactionary person.
Also, reactionist.
Origin of reactionary
1830-40; reaction + -ary; compare French réactionnaire
Related forms
reactionism, reactionaryism, reactionarism
[ree-ak-shuh-nuh-riz-uh m] /riˈæk ʃə nəˌrɪz əm/ (Show IPA),
antireactionary, noun, plural antireactionaries, adjective
half-reactionary, adjective
nonreactionary, adjective, noun, plural nonreactionaries.
semireactionary, adjective, noun, plural semireactionaries.
unreactionary, adjective
Can be confused
proactive, reactionary, reactive.
1, 2. ultraconservative.
1, 2. radical. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for reactionary
  • There are some signs of a reactionary movement in the art of fiction.
  • Wow, it's so cool when people actually go out and get facts before spouting off reactionary nonsense.
  • The answer would seem to be that the move would signal a broader shift against markets and toward reactionary populism.
  • The population is irrational, scientifically illiterate and prone to be reactionary and easily panicked.
  • His decision-making has been iffy at times, and he's been more reactionary than in the past.
  • But neither is half as reactionary or primitive as having a monarch in the first place.
  • The latter tends to be reactionary to immediate sensory input.
  • Even a reactionary understands that change is coming.
  • Perhaps you can be a little less reactionary and spend a little more time actually understanding the problem.
  • And resistance to this change fuels more reactionary politics than is usually ascribed.
British Dictionary definitions for reactionary


/rɪˈækʃənərɪ; -ʃənrɪ/
of, relating to, or characterized by reaction, esp against radical political or social change
noun (pl) -aries, -ists
a person opposed to radical change
Derived Forms
reactionism, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for reactionary

1831, on model of French réactionnaire (19c.), from réaction (see reaction). In Marxist use, "tending toward reversing existing tendencies," opposed to revolutionary and used opprobriously in reference to opponents of communism, by 1858. As a noun, "person considered reactionary," especially in politics, one who seeks to check or undo political action, by 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
reactionary in Culture

reactionary definition

An extremely conservative person or position that not only resists change but seeks to return to the “good old days” of an earlier social order.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for reactionary

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for reactionary

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with reactionary