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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Carroll sounded pessimistic about safety Quandre Diggs, whose high ankle sprain kept him out of the game against the Cardinals. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks’ Jadeveon Clowney: 'There’s no way I’m not playing’ against San Francisco 49ers," 29 Dec. 2019 But not everyone feels pessimistic about the shopping season. NBC News, "Your electronics are about to become more expensive. So who will pay the price for the next round of tariffs?," 27 Sep. 2019 Economists say business investment decisions are based on expectations for factors such as costs, sales, interest rates and competition, and which can quickly swing between optimistic and pessimistic. Ted Mellnik, Washington Post, "Is recession ahead? It may depend on your Christmas shopping.," 20 Sep. 2019 Neither optimistic nor pessimistic statements continue to help us., "Leroy Sane Agrees to Join Bayern Munich With Fee Expected to Exceed €100m," 1 Aug. 2019 Suresh Naidu of Columbia University thinks such calculations may, from a planner’s point of view, be overly pessimistic. The Economist, "Can technology plan economies and destroy democracy?," 18 Dec. 2019 Administration officials sounded increasingly pessimistic that a first phase of any China deal would be reached anytime soon. Katie Rogers, New York Times, "Trump Inflames the Trade Wars, Again," 3 Dec. 2019 But protesters are also pessimistic that Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, will bow to that or other demands, including universal suffrage. John Leicester, San Diego Union-Tribune, "In Hong Kong, all trust gone between police and protesters," 12 Oct. 2019 Retailers' perceptions of broader business conditions remained pessimistic though, according to the survey. Erin Douglas, Houston Chronicle, "Texas' service sector hits 2019 high: Dallas Fed survey," 31 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of pessimistic

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pessimistic

pessimist + -ic entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pessimistic

Time Traveler for pessimistic

Time Traveler

The first known use of pessimistic was in 1865

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pessimistic

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pessimistic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pessimistic


How to pronounce pessimistic (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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