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

Still, those specific myths tend to stick to films about nonwhite and non-male characters, and have helped cement a pessimistic view of the entertainment industry and people’s tastes. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "2018 belonged to Black Panther. And it could change Marvel’s future.," 11 Dec. 2018 But black voters were especially pessimistic about the NRA, with 8 in 10 calling the group's policies bad. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Hip-hop artist and activist Killer Mike’s NRA interview attracts scorn from black voters," 26 Mar. 2018 But the two Moseses were intensely devout and at times darkly pessimistic about the prospects of a Jewish life in a non-Jewish world. Simon Schama, New York Times, "How to Be a Jew in the Age of Trump?," 26 Mar. 2018 The evidence uncovered by the invasion and the subsequent interrogation of Iraqi officials showed that the administration was wrong to believe the more pessimistic estimates about the nature of that arsenal. Hal Brands, National Review, "Lessons from the Iraq War," 20 June 2019 This year investors appear more pessimistic—and with good reason. Echo Huang, Quartz, "Venture capital to China’s electric vehicle startups has dropped nearly 90%," 20 June 2019 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

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

12 Jul 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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