from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Philosophy An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence.
- n. Philosophy A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.
- n. Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.
- n. The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.
- n. 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.
- n. Psychiatry A delusion, experienced in some mental disorders, that the world or one's mind, body, or self does not exist.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Extreme skepticism, maintaining that nothing has a real existence.
- n. The rejection of all moral principles.
- n. (capitalized by protagonist Turgenev) A Russian anarchistic revolutionary doctrine (1860-1917) holding that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake, independent of any constructive program or possibility.
- n. The belief that all endeavors are ultimately futile and devoid of meaning.
- n. Contradiction (not always deliberate) between behavior and espoused principle, to such a degree that all possible espoused principle is voided.
- n. The deliberate refusal of belief, to the point that belief itself is rejected as untenable.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Nothingness; nihility.
- n. The doctrine that nothing can be known; scepticism as to all knowledge and all reality.
- n. The theories and practices of the Nihilists.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In metaphysics, the doctrine that nothing can really be known, because nothing exists; the denial of all real existence, and consequently of all knowledge of existences or real things.
- n. In theology, same as nihilianism.
- n. Total disbelief in religion, morality, law, and order.
- n. Originally, a social (not a political) movement in Russia, in opposition to the customary forms of matrimony, the parental authority, and the tyranny of custom. In this sense the word was introduced by Turgeneff in 1862. See nihilist, 3.
- n. Later, a more or less organized secret effort on the part of a large body of malcontents to overturn the established order of things, both social and political.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the delusion that things (or everything, including the self) do not exist; a sense that everything is unreal
- n. a revolutionary doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake
- n. complete denial of all established authority and institutions
Latin nihil, nothing; see ne in Indo-European roots + -ism.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Nihilismus, itself from Latin nihil ("nil, nothing") + German -ismus '-ism', coined in 1817 by German philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, but repeatedly 'reinvented'. (Wiktionary)