- the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.: His pessimism about the future of our country depresses me.
- the doctrine that the existing world is the worst of all possible worlds, or that all things naturally tend to evil.
- the belief that the evil and pain in the world are not compensated for by goodness and happiness.
Origin of pessimism
Related Words for pessimismgloom, melancholy, sadness, grief, distrust, despair, hopelessness, cynicism, unhappiness, glumness, dejection, despondency, depression, gloominess, dyspepsia
Examples from the Web for pessimism
Contemporary Examples of pessimism
My pessimism leads me to fight harder, or try to understand how I can do it differently.Dr. Howard Fuller's Injustice Education
December 21, 2014
This pessimism—for all the discussion on campuses about “white privilege”—is even more deeply seated among young whites.Class Issues, Not Race, Will Likely Seal the Next Election
September 7, 2014
This pessimism is particularly intense among white working class voters, and large sections of the middle class.In the Future We'll All Be Renters: America's Disappearing Middle Class
August 10, 2014
But the comment is a sign of the pessimism spreading through the ranks of the security forces.Kabul Airport Attack Comes as Pakistani Fighters Join Afghan Taliban
July 17, 2014
This pessimism may be the most realistic view of the climate crisis.Climate Change Needs the Politics of the Impossible
April 6, 2014
Historical Examples of pessimism
His pessimism about his play caused him to exaggerate the enormity of his offences.The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
He was acquainted with that more or less literary form of pessimism.Fruitfulness
Away, for the time, went Jed's pessimism and his hopeless musings.Shavings
Joseph C. Lincoln
In other words, she may have married Mr. Jackson in a fit of pessimism.Audrey Craven
His disbelief and his pessimism were identical in their structure.Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete
Albert Bigelow Paine
- the tendency to expect the worst and see the worst in all things
- the doctrine of the ultimate triumph of evil over good
- the doctrine that this world is corrupt and that man's sojourn in it is a preparation for some other existence
Word Origin for pessimism
1794 "worst condition possible," borrowed (by Coleridge) from French pessimisme, formed (on model of French optimisme) from Latin pessimus "worst," originally "bottom-most," from PIE *ped-samo-, superlative of root *pes- "foot" (see foot (n.)). As a name given to the doctrines of Schopenhauer, Hartmann, etc., that this is the worst possible world, or that everything tends toward evil, it is first recorded 1835, from German pessimismus (Schopenhauer, 1819). The attempt to make a verb of it as pessimize (1862) did not succeed.