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[feyt-l-iz-uh m] /ˈfeɪt lˌɪz əm/
the acceptance of all things and events as inevitable; submission to fate:
Her fatalism helped her to face death with stoic calm.
Philosophy. the doctrine that all events are subject to fate or inevitable predetermination.
Origin of fatalism
First recorded in 1670-80; fatal + -ism
Related forms
fatalist, noun
fatalistic, adjective
fatalistically, adverb
nonfatalistic, adjective
quasi-fatalistic, adjective
quasi-fatalistically, adverb
unfatalistic, adjective
unfatalistically, adverb
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fatalism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The doctrine of Necessity is, in all essential particulars, identical with fatalism in its worst form.

  • Her fatalism—even in the women of the Sahara it lurks—was awake.

    Halima And The Scorpions Robert Hichens
  • The fatalism of Islam was a fruitful source of devices for winning foreknowledge.

  • This belief, after all, is little else but a species of fatalism.

    The Young Man's Guide William A. Alcott
  • He says, suppose a child to be educated from his earliest youth in the principles of "fatalism," what then?

  • The unexpected march of events had converted him to the doctrine of fatalism.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • fatalism being their mother's last argument and always final, the children gave up.

    The Street of Seven Stars Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • In other words, you yield to what Mr. Bryce calls "the fatalism of the multitude."

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
British Dictionary definitions for fatalism


the philosophical doctrine that all events are predetermined so that man is powerless to alter his destiny
the acceptance of and submission to this doctrine
a lack of effort or action in the face of difficulty
Derived Forms
fatalist, noun
fatalistic, adjective
fatalistically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fatalism

1670s, from fatal + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fatalism in Culture

fatalism definition

The belief that events are determined by an impersonal fate and cannot be changed by human beings. Fatalism is a form of determinism.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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