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Definition of radical:

  1. A characteristic, essential, and fundamental constituent of any compound; hence, sometimes, an atom.
  2. A primitive letter; a letter that belongs to the radix.
  3. A primitive word; a radix, root, or simple, underived, uncompounded word; an etymon.
  4. A radical quantity. See under Radical, a.
  5. A radical vessel. See under Radical, a.
  6. Belonging to, or proceeding from, the root of a plant; as, radical tubers or hairs.
  7. Hence: Of or pertaining to the root or origin; reaching to the center, to the foundation, to the ultimate sources, to the principles, or the like; original; fundamental; thorough- going; unsparing; extreme; as, radical evils; radical reform; a radical party.
  8. Of or pertaining to a radix or root; as, a radical quantity; a radical sign. See below.
  9. Of or pertaining to the root; proceeding directly from the root.
  10. One who advocates radical changes in government or social institutions, especially such changes as are intended to level class inequalities; - opposed to conservative.
  11. Proceeding from a rootlike stem, or one which does not rise above the ground; as, the radical leaves of the dandelion and the sidesaddle flower.
  12. Relating, or belonging, to the root, or ultimate source of derivation; as, a radical verbal form.
  13. Specifically, a group of two or more atoms, not completely saturated, which are so linked that their union implies certain properties, and are conveniently regarded as playing the part of a single atom; a residue; -- called also a compound radical. Cf. Residue.


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