from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. involving unrestrained, selfish, and uncivilized competition among participants.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Hobbes (“a surname”) +‎ -ian; referring to the 17th century English author Thomas Hobbes, whose best-known work, Leviathan, describes a situation of unrestrained, selfish and uncivilized competition.


  • Hence, in Hobbesian terms, it was that form of war which encompasses the natural state of man.


  • This might be called a Hobbesian example of humour; the 17th-century philosopher declared that laughter was one of mankind's worst attributes because it boosted self-esteem at the expense of the less fortunate, in lives that were generally nasty, brutish and short.

    Adrian Monck

  • Making generous use of military metaphors, 'Hobbesian' feminists declare politics and political theory as a paradigm case of the oppressor and the oppressed (see Atkinson, 1970: 37, in Elshtain, 1982b: 611).

    Arms and the Woman: Just Warriors and Greek Feminist Identity

  • By the time I managed to extricate myself from their loving embrace, nearly three years later, the partnership had for other reasons descended into the kind of Hobbesian war of all against all from which only the lawyers emerge smiling.

    The Management Myth

  • Lacking trust, each agent is forced into a kind of Hobbesian calculation about the behavior of those around him or her, watching for covert strategies in which the other is trying to take advantage of oneself.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • Is that kind of Hobbesian environment really what VWs should aspire to being?

    Law is code

  • Americans, meanwhile, are mired in history, in a dangerous "Hobbesian" world of interests and conflicts, where the law of the jungle applies and survival rests on armed power.

    America and the World

  • In a "Hobbesian" international world, states — by analogy with individuals — would come together out of their shared interest in security, relinquishing some autonomy and freedom in return for the benefits of a secure environment in which to pursue their separate concerns.

    America and the World

  • For example: Kagan repeatedly labels "Hobbesian" the international anarchy that he invokes to justify America's muscular unilateralism.

    America and the World

  • This was the genuinely "Hobbesian" solution devised by the American statesmen of an earlier generation, who built the international institutions that Kagan would now tear asunder.

    America and the World


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.