pes·​si·​mis·​tic | \ ˌpe-sə-ˈmi-stik also ˌpe-zə- How to pronounce pessimistic (audio) \

Definition of pessimistic

: of, relating to, or characterized by pessimism : gloomy

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Other Words from pessimistic

pessimistically \ ˌpe-​sə-​ˈmi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pessimistically (audio) also  ˌpe-​zə-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for pessimistic

cynical, misanthropic, pessimistic mean deeply distrustful. cynical implies having a sneering disbelief in sincerity or integrity. cynical about politicians' motives misanthropic suggests a rooted distrust and dislike of human beings and their society. a solitary and misanthropic artist pessimistic implies having a gloomy, distrustful view of life. pessimistic about the future

Examples of pessimistic in a Sentence

Most doctors were pessimistic that a cure could be found. The film gives a very pessimistic view of human nature. He has an extremely negative and pessimistic attitude.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The number and variety of newspapers that continue to exist—in tiny towns with populations in four figures, at gas stations in poor rural counties, and in villages clumped near each other—give hope to even the most pessimistic observer. The Economist, "Small-town American newspapers are surprisingly resilient," 21 June 2018 At the White House, some senior officials grew more pessimistic after the meeting, privately predicting that a shutdown was likely. Anchorage Daily News, "How Trump and Schumer came close to a budget deal over cheeseburgers," 20 Jan. 2018 Democrats are pessimistic and have seen barely any improvement in their outlook despite the steadily improving economic data. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "Feeling Good About the Economy? You’re Probably a Republican," 15 June 2018 Investors and executives have grown more pessimistic about the economic outlook as concerns mount over international trade disputes. Tatyana Shumsky, WSJ, "Goodwill Impairments Continue to Climb Despite Strong Economy," 20 Dec. 2018 But people are pessimistic anyway, seemingly immune to progress and good news. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "Why aren’t we asking if Seattle has gotten better, not worse?," 3 Sep. 2018 The ratio then stalled out at a low level for a while, which meant that by 2014, the CBO had become much more pessimistic about the long run. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The big question about today’s economy — are wages going to start growing?," 23 Aug. 2018 Other studies suggest a more pessimistic scenario and attribute the increase in concentration to the fact that the barriers to competition are becoming higher. Alessandro Speciale,, "The Rise of Tech Giants May Be Bad News for the Economy," 21 Feb. 2018 Kissinger came back deeply pessimistic about the chances for victory, believing that the Saigon government was not worthy of support. Jeff Stein, Newsweek, "Did 'The Post' Get It Wrong? How the Cover-Up of a Green Beret Murder Led to the Pentagon Papers," 31 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pessimistic.' 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 pessimistic

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pessimistic

pessimist + -ic entry 1

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Statistics for pessimistic

Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pessimistic

The first known use of pessimistic was in 1865

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More Definitions for pessimistic



English Language Learners Definition of pessimistic

: having or showing a lack of hope for the future : expecting bad things to happen


pes·​si·​mis·​tic | \ ˌpe-sə-ˈmi-stik How to pronounce pessimistic (audio) \

Kids Definition of pessimistic

1 : tending to think that bad things will happen
2 : having the belief that evil is more common than good

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Comments on pessimistic

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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