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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 fatalist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was only Fate after all, that I blamed, yet the fatalist is human.

    Told in a French Garden Mildred Aldrich
  • He was a fatalist—saw leadings of Providence in every little thing.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • If he was a fatalist, he was a fighting fatalist, and I am sure he believed in his fortune.

    Hurricane Island H. B. Marriott Watson
  • Though sufficiently reckless in my temperament, I have never been a fatalist.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • I glance disdainfully at the fatalist whom I have refuted, and prepare again to lay down the first row of cards.

    The Boss of Little Arcady Harry Leon Wilson
  • But Ortensia was a fatalist, like most Venetian maidens of her time.

    Stradella F(rancis) Marion Crawford
  • It is bad to be a fatalist unless one has an incontrovertible belief in one's destiny,—which Hannah had not.

  • Sorrow and disappointment had made him a fatalist—he looked the part.

  • Her early, somewhat Bohemian training had made her something of a fatalist.

    The Scarlet Pimpernel Baroness Orczy
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 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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