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Pessimism

504. Pessimism (See also Cynicism, Skepticism.)

  1. Calamity Jane (Martha Jane Canary or Martha Burke, 18521903) frontierswoman; mannish prophetess of doom. [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 71]
  2. Cassandra no credence ever given to her truthful prophecies of doom. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 51]
  3. City of Dreadful Night, The expresses a passionate faith in pessimism as the only sensible philosophy. [Br. Poetry: James Thomson The City of Dreadful Night in Benét, 202]
  4. Gerontion old man who deplores aging, aridity, and spiritual decay and despairs of civilization. [Br. Poetry: Benét, 391]
  5. Gloomy Gus one with a pessimistic outlook on the world. [Am. Usage: Misc.]
  6. Heraclitus (535475 B.C.) Weeping Philosopher; grieved over mans folly. [Gk. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1146]
  7. Micaiah always prophesied misfortune for King Ahab. [O.T.: I Kings 22:8]
  8. Murphys Law If anything can go wrong, it will. [Am. Culture: Wallechinsky, 480]
  9. Schopenhauer, Arthur (17881860) German philosopher known for philosophy of pessimism. [Ger. Hist.: NCE, 2447]

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pessimism

pes·si·mism / ˈpesəˌmizəm/ • n. a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future: the dispute cast an air of deep pessimism over the future of the peace talks. ∎ Philos. a belief that this world is as bad as it could be or that evil will ultimately prevail over good. DERIVATIVES: pes·si·mist n.

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pessimism

pessimism, philosophical opinion or doctrine that evil predominates over good; the opposite of optimism. Systematic forms of pessimism may be found in philosophy and religion. In religion Buddhism and Hinduism pessimistically appraise the world, while Christianity's pessimism is more restricted. Numerous philosophers have been pessimistic, notably Arthur Schopenhauer in the 19th cent. and Martin Heidegger in the 20th cent.

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pessimism

pessimism †the worst condition possible XVIII; tendency to look at the worst aspect of things XIX. f. L. pessimus worst + -ISM, on the model of OPTIMISM.

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