pessimism

noun pes·si·mism \ ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm also ˈpe-zə- \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of pessimism

1 :an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome
2 a :the doctrine that reality is essentially evil
b :the doctrine that evil overbalances happiness in life

Examples of pessimism in a Sentence

  1. Although the economy shows signs of improving, a sense of pessimism remains.

Recent Examples of pessimism from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pessimism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pessimism

borrowed from French pessimisme, from Latin pessimus "worst" + French -isme -ism, formed by analogy with optimisme optimism; Latin pessimus, probably going back to *pedisamos, derivative (with -isamos, superlative suffix, going back to Italic & Celtic *-ism̥mos) of *ped-, extracted from *ped-tu- "a fall, falling" (whence Latin pessum "to the bottom, to destruction"), verbal noun from an Indo-European base *ped- "step, fall," whence, with varying ablaut grades, Old English gefetan "to fall," Old Church Slavic padǫ, pasti, Sanskrit padyate "(s/he) falls, perishes"
Note: The Indo-European verbal base *ped- is generally taken to be a derivative of the noun *pōd-, ped- "foot"; see 1foot.


PESSIMISM Defined for English Language Learners

pessimism

noun

Definition of pessimism for English Language Learners

  • : a feeling or belief that bad things will happen in the future : a feeling or belief that what you hope for will not happen


PESSIMISM Defined for Kids

pessimism

noun pes·si·mism \ ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm \

Definition of pessimism for Students

:a feeling or belief that things are usually bad or that bad things will happen

Medical Dictionary

pessimism

noun pes·si·mism \ ˈpes-ə-ˌmiz-əm also ˈpez- \

medical Definition of pessimism

:an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome

pessimistic

\ˌpes-ə-ˈmis-tik also ˌpez-\ adjective


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