- total rejection of established laws and institutions.
- anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
- total and absolute destructiveness, especially toward the world at large and including oneself: the power-mad nihilism that marked Hitler's last years.
- an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth.
- nothingness or nonexistence.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) the principles of a Russian revolutionary group, active in the latter half of the 19th century, holding that existing social and political institutions must be destroyed in order to clear the way for a new state of society and employing extreme measures, including terrorism and assassination.
- annihilation of the self, or the individual consciousness, especially as an aspect of mystical experience.
Origin of nihilism
Related Words for nihilismatheism, lawlessness, anarchy, denial, rejection, disbelief, abnegation, renunciation, skepticism, disorder, repudiation, agnosticism, terrorism
Examples from the Web for nihilism
Contemporary Examples of nihilism
I think with that generation, so many of their hopes have been so dashed that nihilism is really a natural response.The Gospel According to Nick Denton—What Next For The Gawker Founder?
December 14, 2014
It’s arguably the best film of the ‘90s—a postmodern pop culture smorgasbord awash in nihilism and dripping with retro cool.The Secrets of ‘Pulp Fiction’: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About the Movie on Its 20th Anniversary
October 19, 2014
To understand better the nihilism of Thiessen's thinking, I must now quote his column at greater length.Doomsday Conservatives: Too Many Hormones, Too Little Plan
December 12, 2012
Journey to the End of the Night does not offer readers much more than nihilism as a response to a detestable world.The Search for Serious Literary Fiction for Republicans
November 5, 2012
Or better, and to speak like Nietzsche, art with a hammer that practices, and then reverses and reevaluates, nihilism.Treasures From the Pinault Collection
June 12, 2009
Historical Examples of nihilism
And once we are driven right on to nihilism we may find a way through.Fantasia of the Unconscious
D. H. Lawrence
Nihilism was not to be rooted out by the removal of any particular set of men.
A period of reaction has set in: Despotism and Nihilism meet face to face.
All (p. 249) these years Alexander had battled with nihilism and revolution.The Story of Russia
R. Van Bergen, M.A.
Nihilism is well named, for it means nothing and it ends in nothing.Princess Zara
- a complete denial of all established authority and institutions
- philosophy an extreme form of scepticism that systematically rejects all values, belief in existence, the possibility of communication, etc
- a revolutionary doctrine of destruction for its own sake
- the practice or promulgation of terrorism
Word Origin for nihilism
- (in tsarist Russia) any of several revolutionary doctrines that upheld terrorism
1817, "the doctrine of negation" (in reference to religion or morals), from German Nihilismus, from Latin nihil "nothing at all" (see nil), coined by German philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743-1819). In philosophy, an extreme form of skepticism (1836). The political sense was first used by German journalist Joseph von Görres (1776-1848). Turgenev used the Russian form of the word (nigilizm) in "Fathers and Children" (1862) and claimed to have invented it. With a capital N-, it refers to the Russian revolutionary anarchism of the period 1860-1917, supposedly so called because "nothing" that then existed found favor in their eyes.
- The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.
- A delusion, experienced in some mental disorders, that the world or one's mind, body, or self does not exist.