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 This perfectionism prevents girls to take advantage of growth opportunities. Forbes, 14 June 2021 Most savvy hiring managers are seeing that perfectionism is an issue that can stifle productivity and innovation. Adrian Gostick, Forbes, 2 June 2021 This inability to cop to failure, let alone laugh it off, is a classic sign of perfectionism. The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 May 2021 Here, during mental health awareness month, Chamberlain talks to Vogue about weathering anxiety, perfectionism, depression, and all the things in between. Gillian Sagansky, Vogue, 14 May 2021 For example, not too long ago something that on the surface was a simple process migration could have gotten mired in the detail of perfectionism. Karen Casey, Forbes, 11 May 2021 Artistry and perfectionism have gone hand in hand my whole life—sometimes the combination is powerful, sometimes toxic. Clara Haneberg, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 May 2021 Both the physical labor of fitness and the creative labor of memoir activate Bechdel’s perfectionism, soothe her fear of death, involve a sort of micromanagement of her physique (whether on the page or on the mat), and demand gruelling repetition. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 3 May 2021 Some former employees said the Willows is no worse than other top kitchens, where perfectionism is rewarded and fanaticism about ingredients is admired. New York Times, 27 Apr. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of perfectionism was in 1835

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Statistics for perfectionism

Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Perfectionism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 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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