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

Forty-nine percent of those inland are pessimistic, while on the coast the exact same share are optimistic. John Myers,, "For Californians, the golden dream depends on where you live and how much you earn," 9 June 2019 Some authors expect growing disloyalty toward Moscow on the regional level, while others are pessimistic. Leonid Bershidsky, Twin Cities, "Leonid Bershidsky: Russia after Vladimir Putin," 5 June 2019 And Cornell’s pessimistic piece came at only the beginning of a decadeslong decline in daily newspaper circulation. Julia Duin, WSJ, "It’s Hard to Find God on the Front Page," 3 May 2018 Making his playoff debut, Keenum faces more historically pessimistic numbers as Drew Brees comes to town (Sun. 4:40, FOX). Jacob Feldman,, "On the Value of Playoff Experience at Quarterback," 11 Jan. 2018 An August scoop from The Information's Amir Efrati provides the pessimistic viewpoint here: The vast majority of Waymo’s test cars continue to use safety drivers. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Waymo One, the groundbreaking self-driving taxi service, explained," 5 Dec. 2018 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

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

14 Jun 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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