Share this entry
nihilism Syllabification: ni·hil·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈnīəˌlizəm/

Definition of nihilism in English:


1The rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
Example sentences
  • Those who rejected nihilism and stood against evil in the past lead the way.
  • Pinker argues that we need not fear nihilism or meaninglessness from the modern human sciences because they show that morality is wired into the human brain.
  • And since he asserts that atheism = nihilism and deism = atheism lite, then I must really be a nihilist.
skepticism, negativity, cynicism, pessimism;
disbelief, unbelief, agnosticism, atheism
1.1 Philosophy Extreme skepticism maintaining that nothing in the world has a real existence.
Example sentences
  • Thus, from a Nietzschean perspective, nihilism is the unforeseen consequence of the Kantian critique of metaphysics.
  • Existentialism is just another form of nihilism in Nietzsche's sense.
  • The dislodging of epistemology from its old status of first philosophy loosed a wave, we saw, of epistemological nihilism.
1.2 historical The doctrine of an extreme Russian revolutionary party circa 1900, which found nothing to approve of in the established social order.


Early 19th century: from Latin nihil 'nothing' + -ism.

Definition of nihilism in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources