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 perfectionist (audio) \ noun or adjective
perfectionistic \ pər-​ˌfek-​shə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce perfectionistic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of perfectionism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s a trend of perfectionism among young people. Cicero Estrella, The Mercury News, "Adulting 101: Cal students teach course on ‘how to live in the real world and function as an adult’," 27 Aug. 2019 Fittingly for a car designer, he is driven — by ambition and obsessive perfectionism, instilled in him by the spartan discipline of a beloved but unsparing father. Peter Keough,, "Doc Talk: On the field, behind the camera, at the wheel, in the lab," 7 Aug. 2019 For all of its tightness and focus, his singing accounts for his perfectionism, his optimismand his grace, as well as his paranoia, his mendacity and his viciousness. Chris Richards,, "Commentary: Hearing a Michael Jackson song still feels good; listening has become too painful.," 25 June 2019 The show’s popularity has only been heightened by its notorious scarcity of episodes: Season 3 was delayed for two years due to creative struggles (Harmon blamed his own perfectionism). James Hibberd,, "Rick and Morty creators give first season 4 interview," 17 July 2019 The ambition, commitment, and perfectionism in his work seemed a little unhinged. Matthew Klam, The New Yorker, "The Weird, Violent, Uplifting Paintings of Mark Greenwold," 26 June 2019 In a world where perfectionism and fear of failure holds many people back from trying something new, that attitude gives students the license to be innovative and to become thought leaders in their future industries. Jessica Levy,, "Jobs are important but so is passion, says local tech school Butler Tech," 7 June 2019 Psychologists Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill found that unhealthy perfectionism has surged among young adults, with the biggest increase seen in those who feel pressured by the expectations of others. Rachel Simmons,, "Perfectionism among teens is rampant (and we're not helping)," 28 Jan. 2018 Actually, too often perfectionism and procrastination are sisters. Jennifer King Lindley, Redbook, "Stop Trying to Be So Damn Perfect All the Time," 2 June 2017

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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Statistics for perfectionism

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for perfectionism

The first known use of perfectionism was in 1835

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with perfectionism

Spanish Central: Translation of perfectionism

Britannica English: Translation of perfectionism for Arabic Speakers

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