• synonyms


[pas-uh-fiz-uh m]
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  1. opposition to war or violence of any kind.
  2. refusal to engage in military activity because of one's principles or beliefs.
  3. the principle or policy that all differences among nations should be adjusted without recourse to war.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pacifism

Historical Examples

  • I have a higher opinion of pacifism this minute than I ever had before.

    The Island Mystery

    George A. Birmingham

  • These accursed Venonians are courageous for all their pacifism.

    Invaders from the Infinite

    John Wood Campbell

  • The quality of Wilson's pacifism was about to be put to the test.

  • Am I not logical when I say that pacifism must be considered the first step to internationalism?

  • Pacifism is not a disease, it is the symptom of the disease of a false internationalism.

British Dictionary definitions for pacifism


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


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pacifism 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.

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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.