[ heed-n-iz-uhm ]
/ 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hedonism

British Dictionary definitions for hedonism


/ (ˈhiːdəˌnɪzəm, ˈhɛd-) /


  1. the doctrine that moral value can be defined in terms of pleasureSee 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 Formshedonic or hedonistic, adjectivehedonist, noun

Word Origin for hedonism

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

Word Origin and History for hedonism



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.