Definition of existentialist in US English:



  • A person who advocates the philosophical theory of existentialism.

    • ‘That is meant to be a funny concept because we think of existentialists as gloomy, Gitanes-smoking French guys who sip coffee all day on the Left Bank.’
    • ‘He also, like some existentialists, believes that life is pointless.’
    • ‘As Sartre once noted, "The existentialist … finds it extremely embarrassing that God does not exist, for there disappears with him all possibility of finding values in an intelligible heaven."’
    • ‘"What could be more real than the world inside your head?" asked Josephine. Her father laughed when she said things like that, and told her she was an existentialist.’
    • ‘Camus' relationships with Andre Breton and Jean-Paul Sartre had begun to feel the strain that would eventually lead him to disavow all ties with the existentialists.’
    • ‘Tina, I just wanna know how you can call yourself an existentialist, and still agree with Nietzsche's doctrine of the Ubermensch.’
    • ‘Louis is an existentialist. He believes only in the cutthroat world of the political.’
    • ‘Noir became the existentialists' preferred form of imported fiction.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Albert meets a fireman, Tommy, who introduces him to the French existentialist, who teaches that life is meaningless and cruel.’
    • ‘There are no existentialists in foxholes.’


  • Relating to or supporting the philosophical theory of existentialism.

    ‘existentialist writers’
    • ‘But perhaps we should identify him more with Camus, for at heart his work is existentialist, and he would have been as much at home on the Left Bank as he was in bohemian Soho.’
    • ‘The existentialist angst evident in many of the works is something many viewers will be able to relate to.’
    • ‘The writer, with her emphasis on becoming, certainly is existentialist.’
    • ‘This sense of "anomie" would be called "alienation" by a later generation of Marxists, existentialist and student radicals in the 1960s.’
    • ‘The tale is existentialist in nature, pointing out that, ultimately, our protagonist's life was meaningless.’
    • ‘I was vexed by this question in my head, "is running nihilistic or existentialist in nature?"’
    • ‘Munch's "The Scream" is an icon of existentialist angst showing a waif-like figure against a blood-red sky.’
    • ‘Suggestive of a prison cell, the work also hints at a harrowing, existentialist void.’
    • ‘The author holds that the existentialist conception of individuality, with its stress on 'creative responsibility', implies an imperative for each of us to recognise the individuality of others and to respect it.’
    • ‘Set against the wartime Parisian intellectual society, The Mandarins revealed Simone de Beauvoir's relations with the existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre.’