per·​fec·​tion·​ism | \ pər-ˈfek-shə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce perfectionism (audio) \

Definition of perfectionism

1a : the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person's highest good
b : the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth
2 : a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable

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Other Words from perfectionism

perfectionist \ pər-​ˈfek-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce perfectionism (audio) \ noun or adjective
perfectionistic \ pər-​ˌfek-​shə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce perfectionism (audio) \ adjective

Examples of perfectionism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For medical professionals, there’s a culture of perfectionism that makes asking for help a sign of weakness. Time, 13 Oct. 2021 Suzuki notes that an important part of learning how to cope with anxiety is letting go of perfectionism. Christine Koh, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 Geared towards young female readers, the series aims to remedy the cult of perfectionism among girl coders. Jennifer Barton, Wired, 5 Oct. 2021 Expecting to make the switch from self-loathing to total, unadulterated self-love was unreasonable — perfectionism in a different form. Kelsey Miller,, 16 Sep. 2021 One of the teachings that resonated with me is about letting go of paralyzing perfectionism and why good enough is better than perfect. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, 26 July 2021 According to the American Psychological Association perfectionism has been on the rise among young people since 1980. Tess Brigham, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Virgos are known for their perfectionism–no detail is too small for this earth sign. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 13 Sep. 2021 But the perfectionism of its founders, including Hayao Miyazaki and the late Isao Takahata, means that fans of the trailblazing Japanese animation studio have often waited years between new releases. Sadie Gennis, Vulture, 19 Aug. 2021

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

1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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Time Traveler for perfectionism

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The first known use of perfectionism was in 1835

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Perfectionism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for perfectionism


per·​fec·​tion·​ism | \ pər-ˈfek-shə-ˌniz-əm How to pronounce perfectionism (audio) \

Medical Definition of perfectionism

: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable especially : the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness

More from Merriam-Webster on perfectionism

Britannica English: Translation of perfectionism for Arabic Speakers


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