Definition of defeatist in English:



  • A person who expects or is excessively ready to accept failure.

    • ‘We only hear from the defeatists and the beaten, never from the get up and get going folks.’
    • ‘His concluding paragraph he sounds like a defeatist, however.’
    • ‘Just because I'm concerned about the progress of the negotiations doesn't mean I'm a defeatist.’
    • ‘He was an angry peace-nik and an aggressive defeatist.’
    • ‘This was not welcome news and we were roundly attacked as scoundrels or defeatists.’
    • ‘The first is that the experience of globalisation does not, as the defeatists suppose, confirm the victory of markets over politics.’
    • ‘She was hardly a left-wing radical or defeatist.’
    • ‘Yet there is a difference between honest critics who recognize what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right.’
    • ‘That won him the derision of Western sophisticates, intellectuals and defeatists of all kinds.’
    • ‘There were lots of partisan shots, calling people either winners or losers or defeatists.’
    • ‘Two fine companion pieces on the election this week are Stephen Schwartz's ‘Defeat the defeatists!’’
    • ‘It also appeals to defeatists, cynics, and worldly-wise men who are not prepared to try to change the system.’
    • ‘However, some defeatists led by him tried every means to discredit the war party at court, going so far as to make false accusations.’
    • ‘Censorship was reformed, to repress both pacifists and defeatists for military reasons, but to restore freedoms otherwise.’
    • ‘But does she not strengthen those defeatists when she writes of the EU poll: ‘The Europeans want to see that initiative eliminated, too.’’
    • ‘There's a tendency to be defeatist, to label and criminalise young people.’
    • ‘It also warns the reader to beware of the counsel of small-thinkers, defeatists, bureaucrats, and other bad sorts that the authors feel are standing in the way of an easy victory.’
    • ‘He talked about economic isolationism, defeatists, protectionists, who is talking about protectionism, who is talking about economic isolationism.’
    • ‘Without wishing to sound like a defeatist, why would we have ever expected to have garnered a result in a fixture in which far better Scotland sides have foundered across the decades?’
    • ‘Rather than admit this, our dovish defeatists have turned themselves into the hardest of hardliners.’
    pessimist, fatalist, yielder, cynic, prophet of doom, doomwatcher
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  • Demonstrating expectation or acceptance of failure.

    ‘we have a duty not to be so defeatist’
    • ‘Keeping warm, romantic ideas close was better than letting the pessimistic, defeatist attitude be victorious within her.’
    • ‘I couldn't accept that defeatist attitude and neither could Dad.’
    • ‘‘That, brought with it a kind of defeatist attitude, a lot of psychological baggage,’ he says.’
    • ‘It is at the back of people's minds but parents are not taking a defeatist attitude.’
    • ‘And during one sequence before a party, we get a real sense of the shared defeatist attitude they have in common.’
    • ‘That's by no means a defeatist attitude, it's realistic - although every now and again a shock happens.’
    • ‘This defeatist attitude then leads him to concentrate on emphasizing post-war humanitarian efforts.’
    • ‘Savage realizes that in order to build up his men, he must first break down their defiant, defeatist attitudes.’
    • ‘Choosing to ignore the mathematical averages and the defeatist attitudes of peers, he has creatively joined both the ways of new and old in search of his soul mate and designed a postcard of friendship to introduce himself across Bulgaria.’
    • ‘I was not satisfied; I had a defeatist attitude and was a confused person.’
    • ‘The overall findings of the survey of senior business leaders in the public and private sectors published in today's edition stand in contrast to much of the gloomy and defeatist talk of recent months.’
    • ‘It's this kind of defeatist attitude which is keeping me away from the national media spotlight.’
    • ‘‘It's a kind of defeatist attitude because then we don't ask questions about what's really there, ‘he says.’’
    • ‘Because of that, and because the side was so good in those days, a lot of teams went there with a defeatist attitude and were delighted if they managed to escape with even a point but that's not the case any more.’
    • ‘Even as the first shovel of silt was being removed, Siruthuli encountered scepticism - bordering on a defeatist attitude - even among farmers.’
    • ‘This is not a defeatist attitude but one which I feel will salvage something from the wreckage.’
    • ‘Letting go of defeatist attitudes that you may not even realize you have is crucial.’
    • ‘Another family of drugs disrupted one's ability to think rationally and logically and still another demoralized people and gave them a defeatist attitude or sense of hopelessness.’
    • ‘It's difficult not to have a defeatist attitude if the work one does in trying to maintain a space with meagre financial means and major bureaucratic procedure is constantly glossed over.’
    • ‘The generally defeatist attitudes polluting society today seem to state that because a problem doesn't seem to be going away, we should legalise it and make the best out of a bad situation.’
    pessimistic, fatalistic, negative, resigned, cynical, discouraged, despondent, despairing, hopeless, bleak, gloomy, gloom-ridden, looking on the black side, looking on the dark side
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Early 20th century: from French défaitiste, from défaite ‘defeat’.