“Not only was he stubborn, but excessively so. His illiberality ensured that he would never hear a perspective with which might disagree.”
What is the best definition of illiberality?
Illiberality (noun) – a disposition marked by someone’s stubborn adherence to their own cherished worldview: intolerance or closed-mindedness
GRE pro tips:
The meaning of illiberality makes a lot of sense in light of the meaning of its opposite: liberality. In this context, liberality has little to do with politics (that’s liberalism) but rather refers to the trait of being generous in behavior or thinking. People with this trait are open-minded and tolerant. And since adding il- to a word indicates “not” or “un,” illiberality is the trait of closed-mindedness and intolerance.”
In its original usage, illiberality also indicated a lack of financial generosity, or stinginess, but this connotation is no longer common; however, illiberal people do tend to cling tightly to their cherished worldviews and refuse to even consider the perspectives of others. Because they see the world through the lens of dogmatism – even bigotry – they are rarely worldly: the unfamiliar makes them uncomfortable. Take, for example, the relatively new concept of remote working; if you tried pleading your case for working from home with an old-fashioned, illiberal boss, you’d get a quick and definitive “no.” It’s not even up for debate!
“It was no longer fun to visit our grandfather, whose receptiveness had been replaced by an illiberality that made any topic of conversation a challenge.”
“Our pastor was remarkably open-minded compared to the illiberality we’d encountered in our last church.”