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Definition of "nihilism" []

  • Philosophy An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence. (noun)
  • Philosophy A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. (noun)
  • Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief. (noun)
  • The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement. (noun)
  • A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "nihilism" in a sentence
  • "“The term nihilism is sometimes used … to denote a general mood of despair at the pointlessness of existence.”"
  • "But stunney clearly admitted that moral anti-realism, in fact moral nihilism, is logically indefeasible strictu sensu since, inter alia one cannot demonstrate strictu sensu that there are conscious beings other than oneself."
  • "The old canard that lack of religion leads directly to nihilism is as cheap and insulting as my remarks above."