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

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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

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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

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 Like many from the area around their hometown of Needy, near Aurora, the Deetzs were pacifist Mennonites. Special To The Oregonian,, "Memorial Day 2018: Remembering two peace-loving Oregon boys who died in France," 28 May 2018 An independent Twain scholar, Donnell studies Twain’s exploration of the Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, a pacifist group that had been persecuted. Carole Goldberg,, "Words That Changed The World Club Talks Desmond's 'Evicted'," 23 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.

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First Known Use of pacifist


1898, in the meaning defined above


1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near pacifist






Pacinian corpuscle


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Time Traveler for pacifist

The first known use of pacifist was in 1898

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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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