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

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 pessimistic (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 But even as there are reasons for hope in the spring and summer, many public health experts remain pessimistic about the next couple of months. New York Times, "Vaccine News Gives Hope for Spring, if Enough People Get the Shots," 3 Feb. 2021 Climate change is causing oceans to rise more quickly than scientists’ most pessimistic forecasts, resulting in earlier flood risks to coastal economies already struggling to adapt. Jonathan Tirone, Anchorage Daily News, "Sea levels are rising faster than the most pessimistic of forecasts," 2 Feb. 2021 But public health experts are pessimistic that Americans are going to change their ways, one year into the pandemic. Maggie Fox, CNN, "Can the arrival of new coronavirus variants scare Americans into better pandemic behavior?," 30 Jan. 2021 Much of professional Wall Street remains pessimistic that GameStop’s stock can hold onto its immense gains. Michelle Chapman, USA TODAY, "GameStop was just a place to buy video games. Now smaller investors have turned its stock into a battle royale," 28 Jan. 2021 While that may sound a bit pessimistic, Chloe’s core reason for that outlook is similar to that of her sisters: loving and liking one’s self first. Brande Victorian, Essence, "Chloe X Halle Talk 'Grown-Ish' Relationships And The Best Lesson They've Learned About Love," 21 Jan. 2021 The fact that McCain’s rider passed and was signed into law makes the Apache activists pessimistic that the incoming Biden administration and Democratic Congressional majorities will help them. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "John McCain’s Apache Land Grab Is Finally Happening," 15 Jan. 2021 But Republicans were pessimistic because most of the remaining uncounted ballots were from the Atlanta and Savannah regions — areas where Democrats have piled up significant majorities. Los Angeles Times, "Democrats on cusp of Senate control as Ossoff declares victory and GOP begins blaming Trump," 6 Jan. 2021 Thomas was pessimistic there would be a wave of foreclosures as federal protections wind down. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Report: San Diego housing market to be in favor of sellers throughout 2021," 31 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for pessimistic

Time Traveler

The first known use of pessimistic was in 1865

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Statistics for pessimistic

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pessimistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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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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