nihilism (n-lzm, n-) n.
1. Philosophy The doctrine that nothing actually exists or that existence or values are meaningless.
2. Relentless negativity or cynicism suggesting an absence of values or beliefs: nihilism in postwar art.
a. Political belief or action that advocates or commits violence or terrorism without discernible constructive goals.
b. also Nihilism 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.
4. Psychiatry A delusion, experienced in some mental disorders, that the world or one’s mind, body, or self does not exist.
1. a complete denial of all established authority and institutions
2. (Philosophy) philosophy an extreme form of scepticism that systematically rejects all values, belief in existence, the possibility of communication, etc
3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a revolutionary doctrine of destruction for its own sake
4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the practice or promulgation of terrorism
[C19: from Latin nihil nothing + -ism, on the model of German Nihilismus]
nihilist n, adj
(Historical Terms) (in tsarist Russia) any of several revolutionary doctrines that upheld terrorism
1. total rejection of established laws and institutions.
2. anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
a. the belief that all existence is senseless and that there is no possibility of an objective basis for truth.
b. nothingness or nonexistence.
4. (cap.) a 19th-century Russian political philosophy advocating the violent destruction of social and political institutions to make way for a new society.
nihilist, n., adj.
the belief that existence is not real and that there can be no objective basis of truth, a form of extreme skepticism. Cf. ethical nihilism. nihilist, n., adj.
the principles of a Russian revolutionary movement in the late 19th century, advocating the destruction of government as a means to anarchy and of ten employing terrorism and assassination to assist its program. nihilist, n., adj. nihilistic, adj.
total rejection of established attitudes, practices, and institutions. nihilist, n. nihilistic, adj.