see also: Libertarian
  • (RP) IPA: /ˌlɪbəˈtɛəɹjən/

libertarian (plural libertarians)

  1. One who advocates liberty, either generally or in relation to a specific issue.
    civil libertarian (one who favors civil liberties)
    cultural libertarian (one who favors cultural freedom)
    hyponyms en
  2. (chiefly, US) A believer in 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; also, a ‘classical liberal’, akin to an ‘anarcho-capitalist’.
  3. (chiefly, UK, Ireland) A left-libertarian, an antiauthoritarian believer in both individual freedom and social justice (social equality and mutual aid), such as a social anarchist.
    • 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.
Synonyms Translations Adjective


  1. Having the beliefs of libertarians; having a relative tendency towards liberty.
    • He has libertarian views.
    • A libertarian capitalist.
    hyponyms en
  2. (dated) Relating to liberty, or to the doctrine of free will, as opposed to the doctrine of necessity.

libertarian (plural libertarians)

  1. (politics) A member of a political party or movement that uses the term "Libertarian" in its name (e.g., the Libertarian Party of the United States); one who is likely to support policies that are libertarian.

libertarian (not comparable)

  1. (politics) Of, or pertaining to, a Libertarian Party.

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