de·​feat·​ism | \ di-ˈfē-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce defeatism (audio) , dē- \

Definition of defeatism

: an attitude of accepting, expecting, or being resigned to defeat

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Other Words from defeatism

defeatist \ di-​ˈfē-​tist How to pronounce defeatist (audio) , dē-​ \ noun or adjective

Examples of defeatism in a Sentence

We must not give in to defeatism. We must be optimistic.
Recent Examples on the Web Effective when used bluntly, without defeatism or apology. Rebecca Mccarthy, Longreads, "Climate Messaging: A Case for Negativity," 29 Sep. 2019 That line of thinking, in turn, leads to withering retorts about defeatism, cynicism and the need to educate audiences, and so on and so on, rinse, repeat, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, etc. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sweetness in the Belly': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 Third, while defeatism is dire for voter turnout, so too can overconfidence. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "The GOP's Pollyanna problem," 20 Aug. 2018 Eventually, though, Blum began to give in to defeatism. Alex Bhattacharji, WSJ, "How Producer Jason Blum is Disrupting Hollywood," 16 July 2018 The teens in Parkland haven’t been part of the political discussion and don’t show that same defeatism. Philip Bump, Washington Post, "Why Parkland students have emerged as a powerful political voice," 19 Feb. 2018 Hope and a sense of possibility seep into every page of this book, driven in part by immigrants and refugees, a population that challenges contemporary urban defeatism. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "10 best books of June: the Monitor's picks," 14 June 2018 Mejia said that if Maduro does win on Sunday, the opposition needs to redouble its efforts to build a broad coalition and push back against defeatism. Jim Wyss And Antonio Maria Delgado, miamiherald, "Can Venezuela survive another Maduro 'victory?' | Miami Herald," 18 May 2018 Eleven days ago a ligament in his left knee sprained and a certain kind of Kansas fan may have gone defeatism. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Doke's the difference as sophomore big man prevents another 'what if' | The Kansas City Star," 17 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defeatism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of defeatism

1917, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defeatism

defeat entry 2 + -ism

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Time Traveler for defeatism

Time Traveler

The first known use of defeatism was in 1917

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Cite this Entry

“Defeatism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for defeatism


How to pronounce defeatism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of defeatism

formal : a way of thinking in which a person expects to lose or fail

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More from Merriam-Webster on defeatism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defeatism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defeatism

Britannica English: Translation of defeatism for Arabic Speakers

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