To·ry / ˈtôrē/ • n. (pl. -ries) 1. an American colonist who supported the British side during the American Revolution.2. (in the UK) a member or supporter of the Conservative Party. ∎ a member of the English political party opposing the exclusion of James II from the succession. It remained the name for members of the English, later British, parliamentary party supporting the established religious and political order until the emergence of the Conservative Party in the 1830s. Compare with Whig (sense 1).• adj. of or relating to the British Conservative Party or its supporters: Tory voters.DERIVATIVES: To·ry·ism / -ˌizəm/ n.
The name comes (in the mid 17th century, denoting Irish peasants dispossessed by English settlers and living as robbers) from Irish toraidhe ‘outlaw, highwayman’, from tóir ‘pursue’; it was then extended to other marauders especially in the Scottish Highlands. It was then adopted c.1679 as an abusive nickname for supporters of the Catholic James, Duke of York, later James II.