pessimism

noun
pes·si·mism | \ˈpe-sə-ˌmi-zəm also ˈpe-zə- \

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

Examples of pessimism in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

When times were bad - 1986, 2008 and 2015 - pessimism prevailed. Houston Chronicle, "Competition for top talent keeps pay scale high in oil industry," 13 July 2018 This enormous uncertainty leaves the Drake equation ultimately vulnerable to the optimism or pessimism of whoever wields it. Liv Boeree, Vox, "Why haven’t we found aliens yet?," 3 July 2018 The pessimism spread to most corners of the country’s financial markets, hitting China’s recently resilient currency and commodities including iron ore and rubber. Shen Hong, WSJ, "Chinese Stocks Approach Bear Market as Fears Over Trade Rattle Investors," 19 June 2018 Yet as dire as their fate looks, some flowers bloom amid the gloom, taking the edge off the book’s pessimism. New York Times, "They’re Not ‘Mad Men’ Anymore. But the Ad Business Is Still High Stakes.," 5 June 2018 Perhaps the pessimism at the heart of the song did refer merely to football. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "England's World Cup Run, Southgate Represent More for a Nation in Political Upheaval," 12 July 2018 Get our daily newsletter This pessimism should be put in context. The Economist, "Lessons from the rise of strongmen in weak states," 14 June 2018 There is something about market pessimism that endows bears with an aura of wisdom that is not always deserved. The Economist, "Even stockmarket bulls are more cautious than at the start of the year," 12 July 2018 Sure, there remained some of that hard-wired English pessimism: This is infamously a national team with heartbreak baked into the recipe, and Croatia was not going to be an easy out. Jason Gay, WSJ, "A Night on the Verge in London," 11 July 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

16 Oct 2018

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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 \

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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