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 Researchers have also theorized about a relationship between perfectionism and suicide risk. Anna Borges, SELF, "9 Things All Parents Should Know About Teens and Suicide," 15 Nov. 2019 Moxie derives from risk-taking and ditching perfectionism. Diana Kapp,, "Raising female CEOs: Coding camp is not the panacea. Instead, help her find her moxie.," 8 Nov. 2019 Do people misjudge your perfectionism as aloofness? Los Angeles Times, "How Lana Del Rey reinvented herself ... and modern-day rock stardom," 3 Oct. 2019 But to carve a path, like Ms. Fleming, a chef needs two things that cannot be taught: a great palate and a deranged sense of perfectionism. Julia Moskin, New York Times, "A Pastry Chef’s Book, and Life, Start Again," 5 Nov. 2019 Jesus Is King also continues to erode the perfectionism that’s been one of his reputation’s last vestiges. Brian Josephs,, "Kanye West is an unreliable pastor on Jesus Is King," 28 Oct. 2019 That’s how this crazy cycle of perfectionism continues to exist in a lot of us. Mary Colurso |, al, "Hannah Brown opens up about ‘DWTS’ in emotional Instagram post," 31 Oct. 2019 Slowing down also meant detaching himself from the anxiousness and perfectionism that affected his musical pursuits in the past. Britt Julious,, "Gabe Liebowitz moved forward in his music by stepping back for self care, before returning to the Chicago scene," 10 Oct. 2019 The young gymnasts were already accustomed to rigid rules and perfectionism. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Gymnasts voice their fury in ‘The Girls’," 19 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for perfectionism

Last Updated

12 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Perfectionism.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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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

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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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