pessimist

noun
pes·​si·​mist | \ ˈpe-sə-mist also ˈpe-zə- How to pronounce pessimist (audio) \
plural pessimists

Definition of pessimist

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for pessimist

Synonyms

defeatist

Antonyms

optimist, Pollyanna

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pessimist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The coalition parties recently criticized the Bank of Italy for making more pessimist economic forecasts than the government’s own. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Italy’s Populist Government Takes Aim at Central Bank," 10 Feb. 2019 Some may say that’s a pessimist’s credo, and that those of us who worry about how the current political climate will impact reproductive rights are just liberal Chicken Littles. Molly Finneseth, Glamour, "How to Be Prepared if Roe v. Wade Is Overturned," 22 Jan. 2019 As market pessimism feeds on itself, take the advice of the father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, and buy from the pessimists. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Tech Malaise or Something Much Worse: How to Read the Markets," 30 Oct. 2018 Complacent people are pessimists and kind of useless and destructive. Eric Johnson, Recode, "If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem, Jaron Lanier says," 27 July 2018 Mario Tama/Getty Images Elon Musk is usually far from a technological pessimist. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Why Elon Musk fears artificial intelligence," 2 Nov. 2018 Put crudely, the pessimists believe that markets drive the economy. The Economist, "Even stockmarket bulls are more cautious than at the start of the year," 12 July 2018 The results show optimists outnumber pessimists but that difference is shrinking. Yuri Kageyama, The Seattle Times, "Bank of Japan survey shows corporate sentiment worsening," 2 July 2018 But pessimists also point to deteriorating manager surveys and consumer confidence. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Europhoria Takes a Hit," 18 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of pessimist

1789, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pessimist

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pessimist

Dictionary Entries near pessimist

pessary

pessimal

pessimism

pessimist

pessimistic

pessimum

pessular

Statistics for pessimist

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pessimist

The first known use of pessimist was in 1789

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pessimist

pessimist

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pessimist

: a person who usually expects bad things to happen

pessimist

noun
pes·​si·​mist | \ ˈpe-sə-mist\

Kids Definition of pessimist

: a person who habitually expects bad things to happen or thinks things are bad

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pessimist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pessimist

Spanish Central: Translation of pessimist

Nglish: Translation of pessimist for Spanish Speakers

Comments on pessimist

What made you want to look up pessimist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!