Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: ab·surd·ism
Pronunciation: /əbˈsərdˌizəm, -ˈzərd-

Definition of absurdism in English:


The belief that human beings exist in a purposeless, chaotic universe.
Example sentences
  • I understand the argument that Kafka's writing and his place in the history of existentialism helped to pave the way for absurdism in theatre, but absurdist plays work best when they make us laugh.
  • Mud, River, Stone makes light of reality without transporting us to realms of poetry, philosophy, or absurdism where this would no longer matter.
  • Full of witty non-sequiturs and theatre in-jokes, the play has long had an enthusiastic following, but does its existential absurdism survive the leap from the stage to the screen?



adjective& noun
Example sentences
  • With the inclusion of train track noise and people scurrying through and breaking garbage, the piece is intentionally difficult, though absurdists should appreciate its anarchist charm.
  • Even if you don't buy into Strauss's absurdist philosophy, there is a contrapuntal gaiety to his pessimism.
  • Alongside Wilder's American optimism about human tenacity goes a deterministic view of character that anticipates the European absurdists.

Definition of absurdism in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day chef-d'œuvre
Pronunciation: ʃeɪ ˈdəːvr(ə)
a masterpiece