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[pes-uh-mist] /ˈpɛs ə mɪst/
a person who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy.
an adherent of the doctrine of pessimism.
Origin of pessimist
1830-40; pessim(ism) + -ist
Can be confused
cynic, optimist, pessimist, skeptic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pessimist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Come home, pessimist, and begin your lessons without more ado.

  • He was not sanguine, and a French pessimist is the worst thing of the kind that is to be found.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • Nor had their reverence for nature and its forms been crushed out by the pessimist theory of the earth maintained by Christianity.

    Demonology and Devil-lore Moncure Daniel Conway
  • Though very far from being a pessimist, he was not a man of foolish illusions.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • In her general attitude towards life George Eliot was neither optimist nor pessimist.

Word Origin and History for pessimist

1820, "one who habitually expects the worst" (Knowles' dictionary, 1835, defines it as "A universal complainer"), from 19c. French pessimiste (see pessimism).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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