Definition of pessimism in English:


Line breaks: pes¦sim|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈpɛsɪmɪz(ə)m


[mass noun]
  • 2 Philosophy A belief that this world is as bad as it could be or that evil will ultimately prevail over good.
    More example sentences
    • Kant's pessimism was based on his conception of the nature of living organisms.
    • If pessimism has a spiritual godfather it is perhaps the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
    • Schopenhauer was the high priest of philosophical pessimism.



More example sentences
  • An effective leader confronts business and life with enthusiasm, isn't a pessimist or a complainer.
  • For the pessimists, it has been a year of unbridled gloom, with fears it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, while the optimists are left grasping for morsels of comfort.
  • Shocking as the Kunstkammer exhibition may be, pessimists argue that drinking has always been part of Russian culture and always will be.
defeatist, fatalist, alarmist, prophet of doom, cynic, doomsayer, doomster, gloom-monger, doom-monger, doomwatcher, Cassandra; sceptic, doubter, doubting Thomas; misery, killjoy, worrier, Job's comforter
informal doom and gloom merchant, wet blanket
North American informal gloomy Gus


late 18th century: from Latin pessimus 'worst', on the pattern of optimism.

More definitions of pessimism

Definition of pessimism in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skōSH
a small amount; a little