Other forms: crusaders

A crusader is a person who works hard or campaigns forcefully for a cause. Most crusaders advocate dramatic social or political change.

You can call a fierce champion for a cancer cure a crusader, and another kind of crusader could be an activist who works for school reform. Crusaders tend to be radical or at least progressive, embracing some kind of change. Crusader comes from crusade, which meant "campaign against a public evil" in the 18th century, but which earlier referred mainly to the religious-based military Crusades of the Middle Ages.

Definitions of crusader
  1. noun
    a disputant who advocates reform
    synonyms: meliorist, reformer, reformist, social reformer
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    Anthony Comstock
    United States reformer who led moral crusades against art and literature that he considered obscene (1844-1915)
    Dorothea Lynde Dix
    United States social reformer who pioneered in the reform of prisons and in the treatment of the mentally ill; superintended women army nurses during the American Civil War (1802-1887)
    John Huss
    Czechoslovakian religious reformer who anticipated the Reformation; he questioned the infallibility of the Catholic Church was excommunicated (1409) for attacking the corruption of the clergy; he was burned at the stake (1372-1415)
    Robert Owen
    Welsh industrialist and social reformer who founded cooperative communities (1771-1858)
    Girolamo Savonarola
    Italian religious and political reformer; a Dominican friar in Florence who preached against sin and corruption and gained a large following; he expelled the Medici from Florence but was later excommunicated and executed for criticizing the Pope (1452-1498)
    Francis Everett Townsend
    United States social reformer who proposed an old-age pension sponsored by the federal government; his plan was a precursor to Social Security (1867-1960)
    John Wilkes
    English reformer who published attacks on George III and supported the rights of the American colonists (1727-1797)
    Simone de Beauvoir
    French feminist and existentialist and novelist (1908-1986)
    Henry Ward Beecher
    United States clergyman who was a leader for the abolition of slavery (1813-1887)
    Julian Bond
    United States civil rights leader who was elected to the legislature in Georgia but was barred from taking his seat because he opposed the Vietnam War (born 1940)
    John Brown
    abolitionist who was hanged after leading an unsuccessful raid at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (1800-1859)
    Rachel Louise Carson
    United States biologist remembered for her opposition to the use of pesticides that were hazardous to wildlife (1907-1964)
    Frederick Douglass
    United States abolitionist who escaped from slavery and became an influential writer and lecturer in the North (1817-1895)
    William Edward Burghardt Du Bois
    United States civil rights leader and political activist who campaigned for equality for Black Americans (1868-1963)
    Medgar Wiley Evers
    United States civil rights worker in Mississippi; was killed by a sniper (1925-1963)
    James Leonard Farmer
    United States civil rights leader who in 1942 founded the Congress of Racial Equality (born in 1920)
    Betty Naomi Goldstein Friedan
    United States feminist who founded a national organization for women (born in 1921)
    William Lloyd Garrison
    United States abolitionist who published an anti-slavery journal (1805-1879)
    Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
    United States feminist (1860-1935)
    Jesse Louis Jackson
    United States civil rights leader who led a national campaign against racial discrimination and ran for presidential nomination (born in 1941)
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    United States charismatic civil rights leader and Baptist minister who campaigned against the segregation of Blacks (1929-1968)
    Malcolm Little
    militant civil rights leader (1925-1965)
    James Howard Meredith
    United States civil rights leader whose college registration caused riots in traditionally segregated Mississippi (born in 1933)
    Lucretia Coffin Mott
    United States feminist and suffragist (1793-1880)
    Elijah Muhammad
    leader of Black Muslims who campaigned for independence for Black Americans (1897-1975)
    Carry Amelia Moore Nation
    United States prohibitionist who raided saloons and destroyed bottles of liquor with a hatchet (1846-1911)
    Rosa Parks
    United States civil rights leader who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery (Alabama) and so triggered the national Civil Rights movement (born in 1913)
    Alice Paul
    United States feminist (1885-1977)
    Paul Bustill Robeson
    United States bass singer and an outspoken critic of racism and proponent of socialism (1898-1976)
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    United States suffragist and feminist; called for reform of the practices that perpetuated sexual inequality (1815-1902)
    Gloria Steinem
    United States feminist (born in 1934)
    Lucy Stone
    United States feminist and suffragist (1818-1893)
    Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes
    birth-control campaigner who in 1921 opened the first birth control clinic in London (1880-1958)
    Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe
    United States writer of a novel about slavery that advanced the abolitionists' cause (1811-1896)
    Arthur Tappan
    United States abolitionist (1786-1865)
    Sojourner Truth
    United States abolitionist and feminist who was freed from slavery and became a leading advocate of the abolition of slavery and for the rights of women (1797-1883)
    Harriet Tubman
    United States abolitionist born a slave on a plantation in Maryland and became a famous conductor on the Underground Railroad leading other slaves to freedom in the North (1820-1913)
    Nat Turner
    United States slave and insurrectionist who in 1831 led a rebellion of slaves in Virginia; he was captured and executed (1800-1831)
    Denmark Vesey
    United States freed slave and insurrectionist in South Carolina who was involved in planning an uprising of slaves and was hanged (1767-1822)
    Sir William Wallace
    Scottish insurgent who led the resistance to Edward I; in 1297 he gained control of Scotland briefly until Edward invaded Scotland again and defeated Wallace and subsequently executed him (1270-1305)
    Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth
    English economist and conservationist (1914-1981)
    Theodore Dwight Weld
    United States abolitionist (1803-1895)
    Roy Wilkins
    United States civil rights leader (1901-1981)
    Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard
    United States advocate of temperance and women's suffrage (1839-1898)
    Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin
    English writer and early feminist who denied male supremacy and advocated equal education for women; mother of Mary Shelley (1759-1797)
    Frances Wright
    United States early feminist (born in Scotland) (1795-1852)
    Whitney Moore Young Jr.
    United States civil rights leader (1921-1971)
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    abolitionist, emancipationist
    a reformer who favors abolishing slavery
    birth-control campaigner, birth-control reformer
    a social reformer who advocates birth control and family planning
    a 19th century English reformer who advocated better social and economic conditions for working people
    civil rights activist, civil rights leader, civil rights worker
    a leader of the political movement dedicated to securing equal opportunity for members of minority groups
    demonstrator, protester
    someone who participates in a public display of group feeling
    dry, prohibitionist
    a reformer who opposes the use of intoxicating beverages
    conservationist, environmentalist
    someone who works to protect the environment from destruction or pollution
    feminist, libber, women's liberationist, women's rightist
    a supporter of feminism
    flower child, hippie, hippy, hipster
    someone who rejects the established culture; advocates extreme liberalism in politics and lifestyle
    freedom fighter, insurgent, insurrectionist, rebel
    a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority (especially in the hope of improving conditions)
    activist, militant
    a militant reformer
    non-resistant, passive resister
    a reformer who believes in passive resistance
    someone who advocates the preservation of historical sites or endangered species or natural areas
    an idealistic (but usually impractical) social reformer
    Black Muslim
    an activist member of a largely American group of Blacks called the Nation of Islam
    Black Panther
    a member of the Black Panthers political party
    someone who demonstrates in opposition to another demonstration
    an environmentalist who belongs to the Green Party
    freedom rider
    one of an interracial group of civil rights activists who rode buses through parts of the South in order to protest racial segregation
    someone who is openly rebellious and refuses to obey authorities (especially seamen or soldiers)
    a protester posted by a labor organization outside a place of work
    a woman advocate of women's right to vote (especially a militant advocate in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the 20th century)
    tree hugger
    derogatory term for environmentalists who support restrictions on the logging industry and the preservation of forests
    Young Turk
    a member of one or more of the insurgent groups in Turkey in the late 19th century who rebelled against the absolutism of Ottoman rule
    type of:
    controversialist, disputant, eristic
    a person who disputes; who is good at or enjoys controversy
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