Pan·​gloss·​ian | \ pan-ˈglä-sē-ən How to pronounce Panglossian (audio) , paŋ-, -ˈglȯ- \

Definition of Panglossian

: marked by the view that all is for the best in this best of possible worlds : excessively optimistic

Did You Know?

Dr. Pangloss was the pedantic old tutor in Voltaire's satirical novel Candide. Pangloss was an incurable, albeit misguided, optimist who claimed that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds." So persistent was he in his optimism that he kept it even after witnessing and experiencing great cruelty and suffering. The name "Pangloss" comes from Greek pan, meaning "all," and glossa, meaning "tongue," suggesting glibness and talkativeness.

First Known Use of Panglossian

1831, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Panglossian

Pangloss, optimistic tutor in Voltaire's Candide (1759)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Panglossian

Time Traveler for Panglossian

Time Traveler

The first known use of Panglossian was in 1831

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about Panglossian

Statistics for Panglossian

Cite this Entry

“Panglossian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on Panglossian

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for Panglossian

Comments on Panglossian

What made you want to look up Panglossian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!