[pas-uh-fiz-uh m]


opposition to war or violence of any kind.
refusal to engage in military activity because of one's principles or beliefs.
the principle or policy that all differences among nations should be adjusted without recourse to war.

Also pa·cif·i·cism [puh-sif-uh-siz-uh m] /pəˈsɪf əˌsɪz əm/.

Origin of pacifism

1905–10; < pacifisme. See pacific, -ism
Related formsan·ti·pac·i·fism, nounpro·pac·i·fism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pacificism

Historical Examples of pacificism

  • Our own conversion to pacificism, though sincere, is somewhat recent.

    Outspoken Essays

    William Ralph Inge

  • I don't believe in pacificism much, myself, but she used it very niftily for her argument.

    Ramsey Milholland

    Booth Tarkington

British Dictionary definitions for pacificism



the belief that violence of any kind is unjustifiable and that one should not participate in war
the belief that international disputes can be settled by arbitration rather than war
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 pacificism

1904, from pacific + -ism.



1905, from French pacifisme (by 1903, apparently coined by Émile Arnaud), from pacifique (see pacific).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pacificism in Culture


The view that war is morally unacceptable and never justified (see conscientious objector). The term is sometimes applied to the belief that international disputes should be settled peacefully.

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.