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[heed-n-iz-uh m] /ˈhid nˌɪz əm/
the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good.
devotion to pleasure as a way of life:
The later Roman emperors were notorious for their hedonism.
Origin of hedonism
1855-60; < Greek hēdon(ḗ) pleasure + -ism
2. sensualism, libertinism, debauchery, dissipation, carousal.
2. puritanism, asceticism, abstemiousness, self-denial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hedonism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And no hedonism, no theory of rights, could supply an operating rule for conduct.

    The Life of Mazzini Bolton King
  • Veblen has made it perfectly clear that particular matters of theory are affected by the presupposition of hedonism.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
  • His own view is that the Austrians are not essentially bound up with hedonism.

    Social Value B. M. Anderson
  • The sonnets on the Days breathe the same quaint medieval hedonism.

  • Honora's amazement at her cousin's hedonism gave way to contempt for it.

    The Precipice Elia Wilkinson Peattie
British Dictionary definitions for hedonism


/ˈhiːdəˌnɪzəm; ˈhɛd-/
  1. the doctrine that moral value can be defined in terms of pleasure See utilitarianism
  2. the doctrine that the pursuit of pleasure is the highest good
the pursuit of pleasure as a matter of principle
indulgence in sensual pleasures
Derived Forms
hedonic, hedonistic, adjective
hedonist, noun
Word Origin
C19: from Greek hēdonē pleasure
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 hedonism

1856, from Greek hedone (see hedonist) + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hedonism in Culture
hedonism [(heed-n-iz-uhm)]

In ethics, the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good in life. Some hedonists, such as the Epicureans, have insisted that pleasure of the entire mind, not just pleasure of the senses, is this highest good.

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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