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nihilism Line breaks: ni¦hil|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈnʌɪ(h)ɪlɪz(ə)m/

Definition of nihilism in English:


[mass noun]
1The rejection of all religious and moral principles, 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.
negativity, cynicism, pessimism;
rejection, repudiation, renunciation, denial, abnegation;
disbelief, non-belief, unbelief, scepticism, lack of conviction, absence of moral values, agnosticism, atheism, non-theism
1.1 Philosophy The belief 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.

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