Definition of pessimism in English:

pessimism

noun

mass noun
  • 1A tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen.

    ‘the dispute cast an air of deep pessimism over the future of the peace talks’
    • ‘The deep pessimism which infects the classic Cold War novel gives way to a complacence born of the hero's capacity to survive.’
    • ‘Optimism turns to pessimism and a growing sense of helplessness, however, as funds are depleted and rejection letters arrive.’
    • ‘Official optimism was replaced by a searching and comparatively realistic pessimism.’
    • ‘Throughout the conversation, Blondel expressed a deep pessimism about the future.’
    • ‘There's no cause for pessimism, we should believe in ourselves and use that self-belief to choose now and irrevocably the path of reform.’
    • ‘That guarded optimism has been replaced by downright pessimism because the bottom of the decline is still not in sight.’
    • ‘Yet there is reason to believe that the pessimism about the East German economy is overdone.’
    • ‘The same markets that were enormously hyped a year ago are now the subject of deep pessimism.’
    • ‘In this peculiarly modern mood of social pessimism, the end is believed to be nigh but never comes.’
    • ‘Despite my pessimism I still believe that the situation can be resolved.’
    • ‘To recognize that war is inevitable is not pessimism, but political realism.’
    • ‘At the same time, public pessimism about the future of health systems is growing.’
    • ‘I believed that no situation could be made better by pessimism or worry.’
    • ‘But just because the mood of social pessimism is so ubiquitous does not mean we should simply accept it.’
    • ‘To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism.’
    • ‘Invariably over the next couple of weeks there will be bouts of optimism and pessimism in world financial markets.’
    • ‘The birth rate is the lowest in Europe, reflecting deep pessimism about the future and the astonishingly high cost of housing.’
    • ‘We have found that a deliberative mindset induced greater realism and not more pessimism.’
    • ‘Why is it that every new cinematic vision of the future is bathed in pessimism and bleakness?’
    • ‘Its uncertain start has only confirmed Scottish pessimism about the possibility of change.’
    defeatism, negative thinking, negativity, expecting the worst, doom and gloom, gloom, gloominess
    View synonyms
  • 2Philosophy
    A belief that this world is as bad as it could be or that evil will ultimately prevail over good.

    • ‘Schopenhauer was the high priest of philosophical pessimism.’
    • ‘Kant's pessimism was based on his conception of the nature of living organisms.’
    • ‘If pessimism has a spiritual godfather it is perhaps the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.’
    • ‘Hobbes and Cavendish shared pessimism about human nature, and an anxiety about ethical and linguistic relativism.’
    • ‘Nietzsche saw himself breaking away from Schopenhauer's pessimism by rejecting what he saw as his monism.’

Origin

Late 18th century: from Latin pessimus ‘worst’, on the pattern of optimism.

Pronunciation

pessimism

/ˈpɛsɪmɪz(ə)m/