pac·​i·​fist | \ˈpa-sə-fist \
plural pacifists

Definition of pacifist 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: an adherent to pacifism : someone who opposes war or violence as a means of settling disputes … the attack inflamed the American public and turned isolationists and pacifists into gung-ho patriots hot for revenge.— Evan Thomas Not every woman will or should be a pacifist; and to advance in the Senate and into the White House, women will have to convince the voters that they're prepared to go to war.— Wendy Kaminer


variants: or pacifistic \ˌpa-​sə-​ˈfi-​stik \

Definition of pacifist (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of pacifism or pacifists distributing pacifist literature

2 : strongly and actively opposed to conflict and especially war pacifist beliefs

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pacifist


pacifistically \ˌpa-​sə-​ˈfi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for pacifist

Synonyms: Adjective

dovish, pacific, peaceable, peaceful

Antonyms: Adjective

bloodthirsty, hawkish, martial, warlike

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pacifist in a Sentence


the newspaper's editorial board has clearly staked out a pacifist position on the current conflict

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The pacifist outlook culminated in the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact. Joseph Loconte, WSJ, "What World War I Taught the Clergy," 8 Nov. 2018 Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has stepped up its own show of military force, and Mr. Abe has sought to revise the pacifist clause in the country’s Constitution. New York Times, "Trump’s Talk of U.S. Troop Cuts Unnerves South Korea and Japan," 4 May 2018 But Wood House Army’s Spring 2019 collection takes a distinctly pacifist approach to the troubles plaguing our contemporary world, positing enlightenment and self actualization over a political agenda. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "A Designer With a Military Past Looks for Peace," 11 July 2018 In 2032, society has reached a state of pacifist utopia. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "10 subversive, dark American futures to stream on July 4th," 4 July 2018 He has been likened to a 20th-century pacifist Muslim, Abdul Ghaffar Khan. The Christian Science Monitor, "A nonviolent movement challenges Pakistan’s military," 22 June 2018 Japan's hawkish prime minister, has long advocated a revision to Japan's pacifist constitution, which currently states that Japan renounces war and will not maintain air, land or sea forces for non-defensive purposes. Emiko Jozuka, CNN, "Japan lowers its age of adulthood to 18," 14 June 2018 Most strikingly, Trump has criticized Japan's military dependence on the United States, while Abe has hopes of altering Japan's pacifist constitution. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Americans like their relationship with Japan. Why? China.," 18 Apr. 2018 In the aftermath of the war Japan became a pacifist country, swearing off war as a tool of national policy. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Japan’s Ships May Carry Fighter Jets, But Don’t Call Them Carriers," 29 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of pacifist


1898, in the meaning defined above


1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pacifist

Dictionary Entries near pacifist






Pacinian corpuscle


Statistics for pacifist

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pacifist

The first known use of pacifist was in 1898

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pacifist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pacifist

Spanish Central: Translation of pacifist

Nglish: Translation of pacifist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pacifist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pacifist

What made you want to look up pacifist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!