pes·​si·​mist ˈpe-sə-mist How to pronounce pessimist (audio)
 also  ˈpe-zə-
plural pessimists
: a person who is inclined to expect poor outcomes : someone who is given to pessimism
… such was the success of the first venture that many must now be optimistic where most were pessimists at the beginning of the year and for several years before.Francis Byrne
For pessimists, the heavens offer a host of doomsday scenarios—an asteroid crashing into Earth or deadly cosmic rays raining down on the planet.R. Cowen

Examples of pessimist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But pessimists have been citing similar cracks for well over a year. Ben Casselman, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2024 But the fall never happened–and the pessimists have quietly moved the cliff edge into 2024. Mike Sommers, Fortune Europe, 1 Feb. 2024 The next recession is always on its way The pessimists are right in one way: There will be another recession. Mike Sommers, Fortune Europe, 1 Feb. 2024 Dan Ives, a senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities, thinks the AI pessimists risk missing out. Will Daniel, Fortune, 28 Nov. 2023 Housing market pessimists have been sounding the alarm for years about a pending crash in the U.S. residential real estate market. Bywill Daniel, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2023 For these and other reasons, pessimists believe China is irredeemably hostile. Philip Zelikow, Foreign Affairs, 21 June 2022 The pessimist sees it as half empty — with increasing vacancies. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Aug. 2023 Spencer Platt/Getty Images Morgan Stanley’s Michael Wilson, one of the few Wall Street strategists to see last year’s equities rout coming, has been among the market’s leading pessimists throughout 2023. Alexandra Semenova, Fortune, 31 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pessimist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


pessim(ism) + -ist entry 1, after French pessimiste

First Known Use

1789, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pessimist was in 1789

Dictionary Entries Near pessimist

Cite this Entry

“Pessimist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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