Definition of pacifism in English:



  • [mass noun] The belief that war and violence are unjustifiable and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.

    ‘there remains a powerful undercurrent of pacifism’
    ‘the case for absolute pacifism’
    • ‘The logic of this argument is that the only policy compatible with neutrality is absolute pacifism.’
    • ‘Neither the militarism nor the pacifism of that earlier conflict was echoed now.’
    • ‘For our purposes, there are two main categories - absolute and conditional pacifism.’
    • ‘A very moderate pacifism was, in fact, the common denominator of the demonstrators and the varied organisations.’
    • ‘There's a difference between peacemaking and pacifism.’
    • ‘He and I can agree in our respect for a consistent and conscientious pacifism.’
    • ‘Together with a concrete declaration in favour of participation in the war, the motion then also included an abstract reference to pacifism.’
    • ‘A third expression of pacifism has been nonviolent direct action for justice.’
    • ‘Mongeau prefers the term antimilitarism, rather than pacifism, for the alleged national character trait.’
    • ‘Suddenly it is not so clear where one draws the line between courage and recklessness, persistence and fatalism, pacifism and passivity, war and revenge.’
    • ‘The society embraced peace advocates of every persuasion, although in the 1840s it found the attraction of absolute pacifism very strong.’
    • ‘Nonresistant sects, notably Mennonites and Brethren, also developed active forms of pacifism such as humanitarian service for war victims.’
    • ‘During World War I, her activism for pacifism grew, and in 1919 she helped to found the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.’
    • ‘There is not a trace left of the ideals it once propagated: pacifism, civil rights and protection of the environment.’
    • ‘The Angry Penguins had no coherent political outlook and the Boyd family circle espoused a confused mixture of liberal humanism and religious pacifism.’
    • ‘As a result, postwar peace movements have abandoned pacifism as a central aspect of their beliefs.’
    • ‘This isn't pacifism though - they're just saying they would have liked to hand down to us a world of peace.’
    • ‘Buddhism is also associated with vegetarianism and pacifism.’
    • ‘It was at times a popular pacifism, stemming from the experience of the First World War, and based on the harsh experience that it was the working class which suffered most when war was declared by their rulers.’
    • ‘As a Quaker, Kevin Clements is dedicated to pacifism and humanitarian service.’
    peacemaking, passive resistance, love of peace, peace-mongering
    dovishness, non-violence
    View synonyms


Early 20th century: from French pacifisme, from pacifier pacify.