pes·​si·​mis·​tic ˌpe-sə-ˈmi-stik How to pronounce pessimistic (audio)
 also  ˌpe-zə-
: of, relating to, or characterized by pessimism : gloomy
ˌpe-sə-ˈmi-sti-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce pessimistic (audio)
 also  ˌpe-zə-
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.
Recent Examples on the Web The economy’s resilience has led some forecasters to revise or retract their pessimistic predictions. Bywill Daniel, Fortune, 27 Nov. 2023 Doom Loops Among those more pessimistic about the risks of AI, the Altman drama prompted mixed reactions. Peter Guest, WIRED, 22 Nov. 2023 The pessimistic in-person numbers validate existing anxieties among arts leaders. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2023 Americans also feel pessimistic that anything will change. Monica Potts, ABC News, 13 Nov. 2023 After weathering a couple of volatile years, many Americans are still feeling financially anxious and pessimistic about the economy, even if the cost of living has ebbed some. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 11 Nov. 2023 But while economic growth surged over the summer and hiring shot up in September, surveys show the public remains pessimistic about the current economic direction, which is likely due to ongoing pains of inflation or other factors. Catherine Lucey, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2023 Economists who once charted China’s rise are now flatly pessimistic. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2023 But that same month, Huntington debuted a far more pessimistic thesis about a clash of civilizations in a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank. Jordan Michael Smith, The New Republic, 19 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


pessimist + -ic entry 1

First Known Use

1865, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pessimistic was in 1865

Dictionary Entries Near pessimistic

Cite this Entry

“Pessimistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pes·​si·​mis·​tic ˌpes-ə-ˈmis-tik How to pronounce pessimistic (audio)
: of, relating to, or marked by pessimism : gloomy
pessimistically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on pessimistic

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