Definition of illiberal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈlɪb(ə)r(ə)l/


1Opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behaviour: illiberal and anti-democratic policies
More example sentences
  • However, I think they obscure, rather than remove or defuse, the potential conflicts between liberal principles and illiberal groups.
  • Far more than wanting smokers to stub their fags out, I want the illiberal liberals now running health policy to butt out of people's personal habits.
  • Since our island is in the Auckland City area we get to choose the mayor from among an assortment of National Party have-beens - a liberal one and an illiberal one - and an entrepreneur bent on not upsetting the chicken coop.
2 archaic Uncultured or unrefined.
Example sentences
  • We are not so much worried about being convicted of being illiberal as having the charge even raised in the first place.
  • They tend to be illiberal, boorish, uncultured, arrogant snobs.
3 archaic Not generous; mean.
Example sentences
  • He is avaricious and ambitious, I fear ungenerous and illiberal; is destitute of heroic daring.



Example sentences
  • Yet around the turn of the 19th century, illiberalism crept in.
  • The second ingredient of liberal democracy that such illiberalism denies is a belief in the superiority of reasoned argument over force.
  • Anyhow I for one whilst disgusted am not surprised at this goverment's hypocritical illiberalism.


Pronunciation: /ɪlɪb(ə)ˈralɪti/
Example sentences
  • This Magna Carta thing is very weird because in the last 800 years we have had the Tudors, sheep stealing, Newgate prison, incredible illiberality.
  • Their illiberality is consistently depressing.
  • Before decolonization, it was possible to believe that colonial rule was as bad a form of illiberality as could exist.


Example sentences
  • The Liberal Democrats behaved, as ever, illiberally and voted against.
  • An illiberally educated person meets new ideas with fear.
  • Or am I alone in illiberally wanting to be told that Archer has been ordered to clean latrines?


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'vulgar, ill-bred'): from French illibéral, from Latin illiberalis 'mean, sordid', from in- 'not' + liberalis (see liberal).

Words that rhyme with illiberal

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