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American English

Meaning: a person who supports progressive causes like social equality and civil rights

For example:

  • I'm sick of these professors and bleeding-heart liberals telling us what to think!

  • Right-wing politicians have done a good job of turning the word "liberal" into a negative term.

Note: For advanced learners: Since the rise of neo-conservative politics and economics in Western democracies in the late 1970s, the word "liberal" has gradually become a dysphemism for progressive people who support civil rights for minority groups, economic policies that reduce inequality, consumer and environmental protection policies, etc. This gradual change in the connotative meaning of the word has occurred mostly in the USA.

Variety: This is typically used in American English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz:

If a conservative American calls you a "liberal", they're

a. praising you

b. insulting you

c. liberating you

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Contributor: Matt Errey