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[pes-uh-mis-tik] /ˌpɛs əˈmɪs tɪk/
pertaining to or characterized by pessimism or the tendency to expect only bad outcomes; gloomy; joyless; unhopeful:
His pessimistic outlook kept him from applying for jobs for which he was perfectly qualified.
Origin of pessimistic
1865-70; pessimist + -ic
Related forms
pessimistically, adverb
nonpessimistic, adjective
nonpessimistically, adverb
overpessimistic, adjective
overpessimistically, adverb
unpessimistic, adjective
unpessimistically, adverb
despairing, hopeless. See cynical. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pessimistic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of course, there was always the possibility of bad weather or a broken cable, but the Catspaw's crew declined to be pessimistic.

    The Adventure Club Afloat Ralph Henry Barbour
  • There was none to speak of left now except in Africa; and they were pessimistic about Africa.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Billy Kernahan laughed at his pessimistic utterances and assured him that outdoor work would do wonders for him.

    On Your Mark! Ralph Henry Barbour
  • He had the most pessimistic forebodings of what the future might have in store for him.

  • This pessimistic aspect of Imperialism has certainly to some extent an historical basis.

Word Origin and History for pessimistic

1866, from pessimist + -ic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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