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[dih-fee-tiz-uh m] /dɪˈfi tɪz əm/
the attitude, policy, or conduct of a person who admits, expects, or no longer resists defeat, as because of a conviction that further struggle or effort is futile; pessimistic resignation.
Origin of defeatism
1915-20; defeat + -ism, modeled on French défaitisme Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for defeatism
  • Or maybe they fear that even a hint of defeatism will increase the panic.
  • But their opinions were widely excoriated as treachery and defeatism.
  • They are the ones over-reacting, with a mixture of chin-jutting solipsism and defeatism.
  • defeatism of that sort is exactly what progressives aim to challenge.
  • To abandon every small government principle because he screwed up a decade ago strikes me as silly defeatism.
  • Some employers attribute the fact that they are receiving fewer applications to the psychology of student defeatism.
  • Over the past three and half years, we've dispelled the defeatism that had once prevailed in our city.
  • defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts.
  • For the sake of our security, this nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the face of determined enemies.
  • For the sake of our security, the nation must reject any strategy of resignation and defeatism in the face of determined enemies.
British Dictionary definitions for defeatism


a ready acceptance or expectation of defeat
Derived Forms
defeatist, noun, adjective
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
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Word Origin and History for defeatism

1918; see defeatist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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