Pan·​gloss·​ian pan-ˈglä-sē-ən How to pronounce Panglossian (audio)
: marked by the view that all is for the best in this best of possible worlds : excessively optimistic

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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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1831, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Panglossian was in 1831


Dictionary Entries Near Panglossian

Cite this Entry

“Panglossian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

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