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ex·​is·​ten·​tial·​ist ˌeg-(ˌ)zi-ˈsten(t)-shə-list How to pronounce existentialist (audio)
: an adherent of existentialism


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: of or relating to existentialism or existentialists
existentialistic adjective

Examples of existentialist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
But the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, whatever its authenticity, has ever since stood as a monument to hard-drinking existentialists, including, presumably, Post Malone. Tom Zoellner, SPIN, 9 Apr. 2024 Powell and Linklater, who last worked together on Everybody Wants Some!!, co-wrote the film, which escalates into a tangled web of deception and mystery with existentialist comedy at its core and some romance thrown in there, too. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 22 Jan. 2024 Both were early enthusiasts of postcolonial leftist politics and intimately familiar with the European Marxists and existentialists of the middle of the twentieth century. Ahmad Agbaria, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 As the killer says, there is no luck or fate or life path except the one behind you — a bracingly existentialist philosophy that goes with the mid-century modern vibes from the film’s many references to Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1967 classic Le Samourai. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 Suffering from insomnia and a nasty respiratory illness (possibly his chronic tuberculosis), the existentialist Camus ponders loneliness, suicide, and death. Albert Camus, Foreign Affairs, 24 Oct. 2023 In a compelling essay, the French existentialist Albert Camus argued that Sisyphus' defiant embrace of his fate transformed his labors into a source of meaning — and even joy. William Falk, The Week, 2 Sep. 2023 William Barrett’s probing philosophical study Irrational Man made the compelling argument that the prospect of nuclear annihilation had forced us all to encounter nothingness and incorporate the shadow of death into our everyday consciousness, as the existentialist tradition urged. Jackson Lears, Harper's Magazine, 9 June 2023 Ask Kim Kierkegaardashian is an advice column by a mashup of the nineteenth-century existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and the reality star and fashion maven Kim Kardashian West. Kim Kierkegaardashian, The New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2020
By most philosophical accounts, especially those rooted in existentialist principles, anxiety is an intricate mood that entails not only awareness of the future but also a refined sense of self. Time, 28 Dec. 2022 In the telling of Camus, whose works became a wellspring of existentialist philosophy, Caligula recognizes the utter meaningless of his sadistic hold on all around him, and allows the machinations that lead to his assassination to proceed unimpeded. Laura Kingstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2022 This movie is like existentialist art, discovering its own meaning in the moment with each step its heroine takes. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2022 To escape a conversation that’s turning into a monologue on existentialist philosophy. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 In existentialist philosophy, freedom entails a fundamental uncertainty and even anxiety. Anahid Nersessian, The New York Review of Books, 13 Jan. 2022 Savio’s politics, like Hayden’s, were a kind of existentialist anti-politics. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 15 Mar. 2021 In this existentialist delight, whimsical and profound, the mundane gains new enlightenment. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 26 Feb. 2021 Singer and turtleneck icon Juliette Gréco in 1946 co-founded the Paris club Le Tabou, which became famous for existentialist philosophy and jazz. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, 23 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'existentialist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



existential + -ist entry 1


existential + -ist entry 2

First Known Use


1930, in the meaning defined above


1895, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of existentialist was in 1895

Dictionary Entries Near existentialist

Cite this Entry

“Existentialist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/existentialist. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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