In English, the word "conservative" seems neutral. However, the Chinese word "保守" seems to carry a negative connotation (Am I right)? What word should I use if I would like to express the english word "conservative" in a neutral way? How about in a positive way?

  • Is conservative really considered neutral in English? – user3306356 Sep 4 at 7:23
  • Is this context on politics or not? – Blaszard Sep 4 at 15:34
  • @Blaszard, not necessarily. I would like to ask about this word in general. – Zuriel Sep 10 at 5:17

From the stand point of innovative and liberal thinkers, 保守思想 (conservative thinking) does carry a negative connotation of inability to adapt

For example: 思想保守的人不願譲子女與外國人通婚 (conservative thinking people do not want their children to marry foreigners) . Since most people nowadays do not mind international marriage, the ones who oppose it had became the minority.

You can say 保守思想(conservative thinking) is polite words for 陳舊思想(old thinking) or 落伍思想 (outdated thinking)

But 保守 as an adjective or adverb on it's own is neutral

For example: 保守估計 (conservative estimate); 保守作風 (conservative style); 保守(地)估計 (conservatively estimate)

How about in a positive way?

You can replace 保守 with 穩建 (cautious) which implies "careful" and "steady" or 慬慎 (cautious)

Example: 作風穩建; 立場慬慎


You are right.It implies a negativity in general.

With regards to "investment strategy",保守 could mean "risk aversive".

One exception will be ETA, 保守估计 actually just indicates a conservative time estimate.

I think "conservative" is close to 稳妥


I disagree. It depends on the context. 保守 doesn't sound negative to me.

If I say the reason I don't take drugs is that I'm 保守 it shouldn't mean anything bad.

If I say someone doesn't like taking risks is 保守 it also is totally neutral.

The negative version will be 守旧.

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  • you are disagreeing with moiaussi06's answer, not mine, I presume? I did state 保守 by itself is neutral – Tang Ho Sep 9 at 19:32

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