solipsism

play
noun so·lip·sism \ˈsō-ləp-ˌsi-zəm, ˈsä-\

Definition of solipsism

  1. :  a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also :  extreme egocentrism

solipsist

play \ˈsō-ləp-sist, ˈsä-ləp-, sə-ˈlip-\ noun

solipsistic

play \ˌsō-ləp-ˈsi-stik, ˌsä-\ adjective

solipsistically

play \ˌsō-ləp-ˈsi-sti-k(ə-)lē, ˌsä-\ adverb

solipsism was our Word of the Day on 10/03/2014. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of solipsism from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solipsism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Fans of René Descartes credit the French philosopher with introducing solipsism as a major problem of modern philosophy, but the word solipsism most likely sprang from a French satire written by Giulio Clemente Scotti in 1652 called La Monarchie des Solipses. The term wasn't used in English until the late 19th century, when solipsism, a composite of the Latin solus ("alone") and ipse ("self"), was applied purely in the philosophical sense. Recently the word has taken on another, more general sense, suggesting an ego-driven selfishness or self-indulgence.

Origin and Etymology of solipsism

Latin solus alone + ipse self


SOLIPSISM Defined for English Language Learners

solipsism

play
noun

Definition of solipsism for English Language Learners

  • : a theory in philosophy that your own existence is the only thing that is real or that can be known


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marked by lack of plan or order

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