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

Other Words from defeatism

defeatist \ di-​ˈfē-​tist How to pronounce defeatism (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 But there are differences between compromise and hypocrisy; between restraint and cowardice; between realism and defeatism. Wal Van Lierop, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 For too long, extremists passing as mainstream have used cocktails of lies and fear laced with bigotry to lull Americans into a normalized and dangerous defeatism. Doris Bittar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Mar. 2022 Election officials and experts share Romney’s view, concerned about any rhetoric that could contribute to a growing defeatism about democracy, especially if the issue itself becomes just another partisan fault line. Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2022 What played a bigger role in the tragedy in Afghanistan, U.S. enabling of corruption or media defeatism? Brigid Kennedy, The Week, 26 Aug. 2021 Its solution to the defeatism of our modern climate is the fantasy of the triumphant individual. Yussef Cole, Wired, 18 Dec. 2021 But at the same time, de Gaulle’s tale is a succinct account of France’s blindness and defeatism that bears similarities to the current crisis. John R. Macarthur, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 The film gives a clear nod to the nervousness that the women are experiencing, but never falls in the cracks of defeatism or melancholy. The New Yorker, 24 Nov. 2021 Ella’s premature defeatism often alarmed Nina; shouldn’t a child have a childlike sense of justice, and a childlike optimism? The New Yorker, 8 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of defeatism

1917, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defeatism

defeat entry 2 + -ism

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The first known use of defeatism was in 1917

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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Defeatism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on defeatism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defeatism

Britannica English: Translation of defeatism for Arabic Speakers


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