Definition of hedonism in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

    • ‘In the Town Square, shops have been replaced by cafes and restaurants and the last vestiges of mall functionality have been eradicated completely in favor of lifestyle hedonism.’
    • ‘Surely their fate carries with it lurid tales of hedonism and excessive violence?’
    • ‘It's not so much that I've quietened down, as that I've channelled my energies into things that are more productive than out-and-out hedonism.’
    • ‘Let's remember her romance, her image, her hedonism, her families.’
    • ‘There is a critique of hedonism, or the pursuit of pleasure.’
    • ‘Their faith, that ‘life is hard and success doesn't come easy ’, is undermined by Joe's evangelism of an earthly paradise of wealth and hedonism.’
    • ‘Traditional songs about love of God, nation, and family are now being pushed to the wayside in the world of country, as new tunes championing hedonism take center stage.’
    • ‘He represents bored self-indulgence and hedonism.’
    • ‘The whole point of a sports car is hedonism, the selfish pursuit of pleasure.’
    • ‘The club sold its soul to the devil of capitalism, and whilst the short term gains were success, admiration, a growing international fan base and kudos, that avenue of hedonism has finally delivered the bill.’
    • ‘It's a glimpse into the golden age of kings, a lost world of luxury, political scheming, extravagance and hedonism.’
    • ‘Eventually we all fell asleep on the couch but I, fearing some moment of excessive hedonism, swiftly made an exit.’
    • ‘It is a novel about tension between duty and responsibility on the one hand and hedonism and indulgence on the other.’
    • ‘To her it was a ‘wonderful’ time that allowed the full talents of creative young people to flower, and claims of hedonism are a gross exaggeration.’
    • ‘How to deal with grave damage while still keeping going economies whose buoyancy is so related to confidence, morale and a degree of hedonism is an even more difficult question.’
    • ‘And predictably, there have been warnings that the new hedonism itself might be a touch too hedonistic, posing a potential risk to people's health and wellbeing.’
    • ‘Other people might get that hedonism via a drunken night out (indeed, I've been known to do this on one or two occasions), watching a movie, sport, whatever.’
    • ‘To me, hedonism and decadence are completely opposed.’
    • ‘We have entered an age of trashy, casual hedonism in which mild decadence is all the rage.’
    • ‘To give in to the idea of being drunk as defining your excitement as a human being would be to cut against the grain of what I believed about social hedonism in the first place - that it was not about running away, but engaging.’
    self-indulgence, indulgence, pursuit of pleasure, pleasure-seeking, lotus-eating, epicureanism, epicurism, self-gratification
    lack of self-restraint, intemperance, intemperateness, immoderation, overindulgence, overconsumption, excess, extravagance
    luxury, the high life, high living
    sensualism, voluptuousness
    la dolce vita
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Philosophy The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.
      • ‘Although hedonism fails as a theory that gives us a fixed end, it does contain a methodological insight.’
      • ‘They viewed the world as a great machine, adopted hedonism as their ethics, and interpreted history from a subjective-critical point of view.’
      • ‘So utilitarianism, despite its traditional ties to welfare hedonism, is compatible with any of the four accounts of utility.’
      • ‘In fact hedonism, the view that pleasure is our ethical end, is always on the defensive in ancient ethics.’
      • ‘In the twentieth century, most of those sympathetic to utilitarianism replaced hedonism with the desire-fulfilment theory.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek hēdonē pleasure + -ism.