Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



liberty +‎ -arian, dating from 1789.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌlɪbəˈtɛəɹjən/
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: li‧ber‧ta‧rian


libertarian (plural libertarians)

  1. One who advocates liberty, either generally or in relation to a specific issue.
    Synonym: eleutheromaniac
    Hyponym: anarchist
    civil libertarianone who favors civil liberties
    cultural libertarianone who favors cultural freedom
  2. (chiefly US) A believer in right-libertarianism, a political doctrine that emphasizes individual liberty and a lack of governmental regulation, intervention, and oversight both in matters of the economy (‘free market’) and in personal behavior where no one’s rights are being violated or threatened.
  3. (chiefly UK, Ireland) A left-libertarian, an antiauthoritarian believer in both individual freedom and social justice (social equality and mutual aid).
    • 1973, Eugene Lunn, Prophet of Community: The Romantic Socialism of Gustav Landauer, Univ. of California Press, page 200:
      Landauer's reorientation of anarchist theory and practice in the direction of idealist and völkisch thought was often incomprehensible to the more traditional libertarians, and in the period of the second Sozialist Landauer no longer felt entirely comfortable with the simple "anarchist" label. For Landauer anarchism and socialism had always been different expressions of the same view; now he regarded anarchism as "merely the negative side of what is positively called socialism."
    • 2009, Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, page 641:
      For a long time, libertarian was interchangeable in France with anarchist but in recent years, its meaning has become more ambivalent. Some anarchists like David Guérin will call themselves 'libertarian socialists', partly to avoid the negative overtones still associated with anarchism, and partly to stress the place of anarchism with the socialist tradition. Even Marxists of the New Left like E. P. Thompson call themselves 'libertarian' to distinguish themselves from those authoritarian socialists and communists who believe in revolutionary dictatorship and vanguard parties.
    • 2012, Wilbur R. Miller, The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia, SAGE Publications, page 1008:
      While anarchism and socialist libertarians have a rich history of revolutionary thinkers ranging from Emma Goldman to George Orwell, the best-known socialist libertarian thinker of today is probably Noam Chomsky.
  4. (philosophy) A believer in the freedom of thinking beings to choose their own destiny, i.e. a believer in free will as opposed to those who believe the future is predetermined.



libertarian (comparative more libertarian, superlative most libertarian)

  1. Having the beliefs of libertarians; having a relative tendency towards liberty.
    He has libertarian views.
    A libertarian capitalist.
    • 2012 January 1, Steven Sloman, “The Battle Between Intuition and Deliberation”, in American Scientist[4], volume 100, number 1, page 74:
      Libertarian paternalism is the view that, because the way options are presented to citizens affects what they choose, society should present options in a way that “nudges” our intuitive selves to make choices that are more consistent with what our more deliberative selves would have chosen if they were in control.
    • 2016 January 13, Ben Jacobs, “Ron Paul criticizes Cruz's absence from Fed vote in support of son's campaign”, in The Guardian[5]:
      Rand Paul’s presidential campaign has drafted in his father, libertarian icon Ron Paul, to directly attack Republican rival Ted Cruz in a robocall in Iowa, the first time the former presidential candidate has gone on the offensive on his son’s behalf.
    • 2017, Angela Nagle, Kill All Normies, Zero Books, →ISBN:
      Anonymous activities have over the years leaned incoherently to the libertarian left and right, and everything in between, singling out everyone from Justin Bieber fans to feminists, fascists, cybersecurity specialists, and engaged in the kind of pervert-exposing vigilantism that blue-collar tabloid readers have long been mocked for.
  2. (dated) Relating to liberty, or to the doctrine of free will, as opposed to the doctrine of necessity.


Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Joseph Déjacque (May 1857), “De l'être-humain mâle et femelle: Lettre à P.J. Proudhon”, in (please provide the title of the work)[1], Le Libertaire: Journal du Mouvement Social, archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
  2. ^ David Boaz (1997), “A Note on Labels: Why ‘Libertarian’?”, in Libertarianism: A Primer[2], New York, N.Y.: Free Press, →ISBN, archived from the original on 2012-12-10.
  3. ^ Dean Russell (May 1955), “Who is a Libertarian?”, in Ideas on Liberty (reproduced on Revolution)[3], Foundation for Economic Education, archived from the original on 2017-08-26.

Further reading[edit]