Definition of solipsism
: 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
solipsistplay \ˈsō-ləp-sist, ˈsä-ləp-, sə-ˈlip-\ noun
solipsisticplay \ˌsō-ləp-ˈsis-tik, ˌsä-\ adjective
solipsisticallyplay \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
solipsism was our Word of the Day on 10/03/2014. Hear the podcast!
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
First Known Use: 1874
SOLIPSISM Defined for English Language Learners
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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