Definition of “conservative” - English Dictionary

“conservative” in English

See all translations


uk /kənˈsɜː.və.tɪv/ us /kənˈsɝː.və.t̬ɪv/

conservative adjective (AGAINST CHANGE)

C1 not usually liking or trusting change, especially sudden change:

a conservative society/outlook
Older people tend to be more conservative and a bit suspicious of anything new.

If you are conservative in your appearance, you usually do not like fashionable or modern clothes or hairstyles:

He's a very conservative dresser - he always looks like he's wearing his father's clothes!

More examples

adverb uk /kənˈsɜː.və.tɪ us /kənˈsɝː.və.t̬ɪ

I dress more conservatively for the office.
The costs of cleaning up the bay are estimated, conservatively, at $1 billion.


uk /kənˈsɜː.və.tɪv/ us /kənˈsɝː.və.t̬ɪv/ also Tory
noun [ C ] uk us also Tory

She's a staunch (= very loyal) Conservative.
noun [ U ] uk /kənˈsɜː.və.tɪ.zəm/ us /kənˈsɝː.və.tɪ.zəm/

Conservative actions and beliefs

(Definition of “conservative” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“conservative” in American English

See all translations


us /kənˈsɜr·və·t̬ɪv/

conservative adjective (SOCIAL)

If you are conservative in your appearance, you wear clothes in traditional colors and styles:

He wore a conservative business suit for his interview.
adverb us /kənˈsɜr·və·t̬ɪv·li/

She was conservatively dressed in a gray suit.

conservative adjective (POLITICAL)

politics & government tending to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and traditional values and to oppose depending on government for social services:

conservative Republicans
noun [ C ] us /kənˈsɜr·və·t̬ɪv/

The Congressional committee had an equal number of conservatives and liberals.

conservative adjective (LOW)

(of guesses and calculations) likely to be less than the real amount:

Even by conservative estimates, the company will lose $2,000,000 this year.

(Definition of “conservative” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“conservative” in Business English

See all translations


uk /kənˈsɜːvətɪv/ us

not involving or taking unnecessary risks:

The firm has always had a conservative approach to investment.

lower than the real figure or amount seems likely to be:

a conservative estimate/figure

(Definition of “conservative” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)