pac·​i·​fism ˈpa-sə-ˌfi-zəm How to pronounce pacifism (audio)
: opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes
specifically : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
For Quakers pacifism is a major tenet of belief.
: an attitude or policy of nonresistance
efforts toward pacifism and civil rights

Examples of pacifism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Published in 1936, it was read by some as a parable about pacifism and disobedience (and banned in fascist Spain and Germany by Franco and Hitler). Roxana Popescu, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2023 Russia’s diocesan court ruled that his pacifism was inconsistent with the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church. Andrei Kolesnikov, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 Though closely linked to the Amish theologically through their Anabaptist pacifism, the Mennonites were significantly more worldly, with their electricity, cars, and modern plumbing. Rachel Yoder, Harper's Magazine, 9 June 2023 The true struggle faced by Proffit however, in his mind and at times in his work and daily life, was his commitment to his pacifism, and to understanding what this commitment required of him. David James, Anchorage Daily News, 16 July 2023 At first, the coalition seemed to beat the odds: Allies praised its pledge to overwrite postwar pacifism with military revitalization. Erika Solomon, New York Times, 20 June 2023 Japan, seeing threats from North Korea and China, is abandoning its postwar pacifism, vowing to double its military spending. James Angelos, New York Times, 24 Jan. 2023 Because their pacifism was more un-American than their Blackness, King and Baldwin left their shared podium in Los Angeles like fugitives and under heavier, more meaningless surveillance. Harmony Holiday, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2023 Malm’s book criticizes climate activists’ commitment to pacifism, and argues for the adoption of strategic property destruction as a tactic. Sophia Nguyen, Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


French pacifisme, from pacifique pacific

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pacifism was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near pacifism

Cite this Entry

“Pacifism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pac·​i·​fism ˈpas-ə-ˌfiz-əm How to pronounce pacifism (audio)
: opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes
pacifist noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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