pessimism

noun
pes·​si·​mism | \ ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm also ˈpe-zə- How to pronounce pessimism (audio) \

Definition of pessimism

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

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Examples of pessimism in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

In a book that otherwise oscillates between anger and pessimism, there is a single ray of hope: Brexit. The Economist, "Brexit is reverberating in British literature," 5 July 2018 The Bank of Japan offered a bleaker picture of the economy on Friday and left its ultra-easy monetary policy on hold, but Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda cautioned against undue pessimism. Megumi Fujikawa, WSJ, "Bank of Japan Takes Gloomier View of Economy," 15 Mar. 2019 Another reason for pessimism is that Magellan Health didn’t affirm its 2018 forecast. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Magellan Health Finds Itself in Well-Charted Territory," 28 Nov. 2018 But for me, there’s one very big thing with the whole notion of optimism and pessimism. latimes.com, "Refugees, optimism and literary roots: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Mohsin Hamid in conversation," 25 May 2018 But their reasons for pessimism are just as numerous. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 The price started to fall, sparking more pessimism. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Bitcoin and ether are both down more than two-thirds from their peaks," 13 Aug. 2018 Contemporary science fiction often feels fixated on a sort of pessimism that peers into the world of tomorrow and sees the apocalypse looming more often than not. The Verge, "Better Worlds," 5 Dec. 2018 In context, then, Musk’s AI concerns are not an out-of-character streak of technological pessimism. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Why Elon Musk fears artificial intelligence," 2 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pessimism

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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 foot entry 1.

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Statistics for pessimism

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pessimism

The first known use of pessimism was in 1815

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More Definitions for pessimism

pessimism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pessimism

: 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

noun
pes·​si·​mism | \ ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm How to pronounce pessimism (audio) \

Kids Definition of pessimism

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

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

Other Words from pessimism

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

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