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[tawr-ee, tohr-ee] /ˈtɔr i, ˈtoʊr i/
noun, plural Tories for 1–5.
a member of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada.
a member of a political party in Great Britain from the late 17th century to about 1832 that favored royal authority over Parliament and the preservation of the existing social and political order: succeeded by the Conservative party.
(often lowercase) an advocate of conservative principles; one opposed to reform or radicalism.
a person who supported the British cause in the American Revolution; a loyalist.
(in the 17th century) a dispossessed Irishman who resorted to banditry, especially after the invasion of Oliver Cromwell and suppression of the royalist cause (1649–52).
a male or female given name.
of, belonging to, or characteristic of the Tories.
being a Tory.
(sometimes lowercase) opposed to reform or radicalism; conservative.
Origin of Tory
1640-50; < Irish *tóraighe outlaw, bandit, derivative of tóir chase, pursuit Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tories
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Few tories received quarters from the militia, and fewer of the militia asked it of the tories.

    The Yankee Tea-party Henry C. Watson
  • Why, Tryon County ought, by all the rules, to be the tories' strongest citadel.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Liberals though some of them may be in earnest, they are all tories in fun.

  • He is a free-thinker and a republican—we are church people and tories.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • There I was well fed, and told I need to look out only on this side the river for tories.

    Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker S. Weir Mitchell
British Dictionary definitions for tories


noun (pl) -ries
a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada
a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s
an American supporter of the British cause; loyalist Compare Whig
(sometimes not capital) an ultraconservative or reactionary
(in the 17th century) an Irish Roman Catholic, esp an outlaw who preyed upon English settlers
of, characteristic of, or relating to Tories
(sometimes not capital) ultraconservative or reactionary
Derived Forms
Toryish, adjective
Toryism, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Irish tōraidhe outlaw, from Middle Irish tōir pursuit
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
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Word Origin and History for tories



1566, "an outlaw," specifically "a robber," from Irish toruighe "plunderer," originally "pursuer, searcher," from Old Irish toirighim "I pursue," related to toracht "pursuit." About 1646, it emerged as a derogatory term for Irish Catholics dispossessed of their land (some of whom subsequently turned to outlawry); c.1680 applied by Exclusioners to supporters of the Catholic Duke of York (later James II) in his succession to the throne of England. After 1689, Tory was the name of a British political party at first composed of Yorkist Tories of 1680. Superseded c.1830 by Conservative, though it continues to be used colloquially. In American history, Tory was the name given after 1769 to colonists who remained loyal to George III of England.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tories in Culture

Tories definition

A political party in Britain, also called the Conservative party. In the late eighteenth century, the Tories took form as defenders of the king and stability and of established interests in Britain; they advised caution in making political and social change. Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli, and Margaret Thatcher belonged to the party.

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