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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fatalist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He is a fatalist, taking his profits and losses as if they were gifts or blows of Fortune.

  • Many a man has become a fatalist because he has fallen under the dominion of a single idea.

    Sophist Plato
  • "Indeed, indeed," Asad agreed, grasping at the fatalist's consolation.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • But I can't find it in me to behave like a fatalist, to sit down with folded hands.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • “Their time was come,” said Daddy, who was a bit of a fatalist.

    Danger! and Other Stories Arthur Conan Doyle
  • You cannot argue with a fatalist, any more than with a prophet.

  • Oh, I've become a fatalist on the subject of my engagements.

    The Girl on the Boat Pelham Grenville Wodehouse
  • Then, too, as we have already said, one is a fatalist when one is a Bonaparte.

    Napoleon the Little Victor Hugo
  • I am a fatalist, and I know that you two will meet, and read your destinies in each other's souls.

    Princess Zara Ross Beeckman
British Dictionary definitions for fatalist


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 fatalist

1640s, in reference to the philosophical doctrine that all things are determined by fate; from fatal + -ist. General sense of "one who accepts every event as inevitable" is from 1734.



1670s, from fatal + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fatalist 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 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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