hedonism

noun he·do·nism \ ˈhē-də-ˌni-zəm \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of hedonism

1 : the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life
2 : a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism
  • she was a perfect specimen of selfish hedonism
  • —Donald Armstrong

hedonist

play \ˈhē-də-nist\ noun

hedonistic

play \ˌhē-də-ˈni-stik\ adjective

hedonistically

play \ˌhē-də-ˈni-sti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of hedonism in a Sentence

  1. their spring break trip to Mexico became an exercise in heedless hedonism

Recent Examples of hedonism from the Web

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

The Modern Definition of hedonism

When hedonism first appeared in English in the middle of the 19th century, it referred to the doctrines of certain schools of philosophy in ancient Greece (such as the Epicureans and Cyrenaics), who held that happiness or pleasure constituted the chief goal in life. As used today, the word frequently carries a judgmental tinge. If someone is described as living a life of hedonism, the implication is that he or she derives happiness from debauchery rather than, say, spending quality time with family or forming meaningful relationships at work. Hedonism comes from the Greek hēdonē (“pleasure”), which also provides the root of the word anhedonia (“a psychological condition characterized by inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable acts”).

Origin and Etymology of hedonism

Greek hēdonē pleasure; akin to Greek hēdys sweet — more at sweet


HEDONISM Defined for English Language Learners

hedonism

noun

Definition of hedonism for English Language Learners

  • : the belief that pleasure or happiness is the most important goal in life


Medical Dictionary

hedonism

noun he·do·nism \ ˈhēd-ᵊn-ˌiz-əm \

medical Definition of hedonism

: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life

hedonist

play \-ᵊn-əst\ noun

hedonistic

play \ˌhēd-ᵊn-ˈis-tik\ adjective

hedonistically

play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb


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