fa·​tal·​ism | \ˈfā-tə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of fatalism 

: a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them also : a belief in or attitude determined by this doctrine fatalism that regards social problems as simply inevitable

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Other Words from fatalism

fatalist \ˈfā-​tə-​list \ noun
fatalistic \ˌfā-​tə-​ˈli-​stik \ adjective
fatalistically \ˌfā-​tə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of fatalism in a Sentence

Many people seem to have developed a sense of fatalism about the war.

Recent Examples on the Web

But its own breezy way, the episode does internalize a lot of King’s fatalism. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Castle Rock is the perfect excuse to start watching Haven on Netflix," 27 July 2018 The first task in climate adaptation is to overcome fatalism by creating community ties to build endurance and find solutions. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thai cave rescue: a metaphor on climate adaptation," 9 July 2018 Opera purists may squawk, but for me every voice does justice not only to Bizet’s melodic richness but also to the inescapable fatalism of the story, as the music tugs everyone into combustible convergence. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Bad Girl Makes Good in a Glorious ‘Carmen Jones’," 27 June 2018 An easy fatalism about all this corruption has gained wide circulation. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Corruption, Not Russia, Is Trump’s Greatest Political Liability," 1 Apr. 2018 Economic hardship breeds hopelessness, and what else is gun fatalism but a specific kind of hopelessness? Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, "The ‘Treasonous’ Teens Living in One Nation Under Guns," 30 May 2018 An acceptance of fatalism about corruption had been broken and in its place was a common desire to build systems of integrity. The Christian Science Monitor, "What happens after an anti-corruption victory," 8 May 2018 After years of fatalism on gun reform, the movement that the Parkland students have galvanized is still only beginning, but its effects are already unmistakable. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "The Parkland Teens Are Winning the Culture War," 31 Mar. 2018 The size of the protests suggests a strong challenge to India’s historic fatalism about the role of girls and women as weak, submissive, or expendable. The Christian Science Monitor, "India’s swing in favor of girls," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatalism.' 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 fatalism

1678, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near fatalism


fat acid




fatality rate


Statistics for fatalism

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fatalism

The first known use of fatalism was in 1678

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More Definitions for fatalism



English Language Learners Definition of fatalism

: the belief that what will happen has already been decided and cannot be changed

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More from Merriam-Webster on fatalism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fatalism

Spanish Central: Translation of fatalism

Nglish: Translation of fatalism for Spanish Speakers

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