a person who surrenders easily or is subject to defeatism.
an advocate or follower of defeatism as a public policy.


marked by defeatism.

Origin of defeatist

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

Examples from the Web for defeatist

Contemporary Examples of defeatist

  • Unfortunately, this sort of defeatist measure was recently proposed in the House of Representatives.

  • If anything is hopeless—and breeds hopelessness—it is this defeatist approach.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What Roger Cohen Gets Wrong

    Yousef Munayyer

    March 5, 2013

  • And the Republican candidates are indeed attacking him as defeatist and weak.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The GOP's War Hypocrisy

    Peter Beinart

    October 31, 2011

  • I will take her any day over the “educated class,” the bureaucratic mollusks and the defeatist sad sacks in Washington.

    The Daily Beast logo
    In Defense of Tea Parties

    Tunku Varadarajan

    January 11, 2010

  • In fact, he routinely refers to the traditional Muslim clergy as “imams of infidelity,” “defeatist imams,” or “hypocrite imams.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Now He's 52

    Reza Aslan

    March 10, 2009

Historical Examples of defeatist

  • "You can't afford to get defeatist about this, Rod," Biddington went on.

  • The pacifists and "defeatist" Socialists represented a minority.


    John Spargo

  • Socialist and defeatist writers took advantage of this state of affairs.

    The Russian Turmoil

    Anton Ivanovich Denikin

  • But while the case is still in progress, the "defeatist" meets his fate from the pistol bullet of a fanatic.

    Romain Rolland

    Stefan Zweig

  • But do you honestly think I could entertain such a defeatist notion for one instant?


    Harry Harrison

Word Origin and History for defeatist

1918, adjective and noun, in reference to pacifists and political opposition in Britain, from French défaitiste, which was used there in reference to the Russians who sought to end their war with Germany; see defeat (n.) + -ist. Their opposition, in the original Russian context, were called defensists.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper