[dih-fee-tiz-uh m]


the attitude, policy, or conduct of a person who admits, expects, or no longer resists defeat, as because of a conviction that further struggle or effort is futile; pessimistic resignation.

Origin of defeatism

1915–20; defeat + -ism, modeled on French défaitisme Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for defeatism



a ready acceptance or expectation of defeat
Derived Formsdefeatist, noun, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for defeatism

1918; see defeatist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper