Definition of pessimism in US English:

pessimism

noun

  • 1A tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future.

    ‘the dispute cast an air of deep pessimism over the future of the peace talks’
    • ‘Despite my pessimism I still believe that the situation can be resolved.’
    • ‘But just because the mood of social pessimism is so ubiquitous does not mean we should simply accept it.’
    • ‘Optimism turns to pessimism and a growing sense of helplessness, however, as funds are depleted and rejection letters arrive.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The birth rate is the lowest in Europe, reflecting deep pessimism about the future and the astonishingly high cost of housing.’
    • ‘Why is it that every new cinematic vision of the future is bathed in pessimism and bleakness?’
    • ‘I believed that no situation could be made better by pessimism or worry.’
    • ‘Yet there is reason to believe that the pessimism about the East German economy is overdone.’
    • ‘The deep pessimism which infects the classic Cold War novel gives way to a complacence born of the hero's capacity to survive.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We have found that a deliberative mindset induced greater realism and not more pessimism.’
    • ‘Its uncertain start has only confirmed Scottish pessimism about the possibility of change.’
    • ‘Official optimism was replaced by a searching and comparatively realistic pessimism.’
    • ‘To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism.’
    • ‘At the same time, public pessimism about the future of health systems is growing.’
    • ‘Throughout the conversation, Blondel expressed a deep pessimism about the future.’
    • ‘That guarded optimism has been replaced by downright pessimism because the bottom of the decline is still not in sight.’
    • ‘To recognize that war is inevitable is not pessimism, but political realism.’
    • ‘Invariably over the next couple of weeks there will be bouts of optimism and pessimism in world financial markets.’
    defeatism, negative thinking, negativity, expecting the worst, doom and gloom, gloom, gloominess
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Philosophy A belief that this world is as bad as it could be or that evil will ultimately prevail over good.
      • ‘Nietzsche saw himself breaking away from Schopenhauer's pessimism by rejecting what he saw as his monism.’
      • ‘Hobbes and Cavendish shared pessimism about human nature, and an anxiety about ethical and linguistic relativism.’
      • ‘If pessimism has a spiritual godfather it is perhaps the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.’
      • ‘Kant's pessimism was based on his conception of the nature of living organisms.’
      • ‘Schopenhauer was the high priest of philosophical pessimism.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pessimism

/ˈpesəˌmizəm//ˈpɛsəˌmɪzəm/