To radicalize someone is to shift a person or group's opinions toward either end of the political spectrum. The word comes up a lot during times of political upheaval or revolution when people’s opinions stray far from the mainstream.

  • Pronunciation: /'rædɪkəlaɪz/
  • English description: make more radical in social or political outlook
  • Synonyms: alter
  • Chinese Translation:  使激进化(shi3 ji1 jin4 hua4)
  • Spanish Translation: radicalizar
  • ORIGIN: To radicalize people is to cause a shift in their beliefs that make them want to take action for social reform. Once they’re radicalized, they'll want big political or social changes and work to make them happen. Personal experience is often radicalizing — sexism, racism, poverty, and perceived injustices radicalize many people to try to change the world. The word can have a darker meaning when radicalization leads to politically motivated violence.


  • If there are a lot of people getting there and engaging in radicalizing activities, then we need to be suspicious of it.
  • But allowing visa vetters to review social media postings is no guarantee that a would-be immigrant who has radicalized views will be discovered.

*New word description, story and part of "EXAMPLE SENTENCE" are cited in Vocabulary.com