Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who believes in nothing; one who advocates the metaphysical doctrine of nihilism.
  • noun One who rejects all the positive beliefs upon which existing society and governments are founded; one who demands the abolition of the existing social and political order of things.
  • noun Specifically An adherent of nihilism; a member of a Russian secret society which aims at the overthrow of the existing order of things, social, political, and religious; a Russian anarchist or revolutionary reformer. See nihilism, 4.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who advocates the doctrine of nihilism; one who believes or teaches that nothing can be known, or asserted to exist.
  • noun (Politics) A member of a secret association (esp. in Russia), which is devoted to the destruction of the present political, religious, and social institutions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun philosophy, religion A person who accepts or champions nihilism.
  • noun An absolute skeptic; a person who believes in the truth of nothing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun someone who rejects all theories of morality or religious belief
  • noun an advocate of anarchism

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin nihil ("nothing") + -ist.

Examples

  • You do know that being identified as a nihilist is a not a compliment, don’t ya, Abb? abb1 Says:

    Matthew Yglesias » Why Two Parties?

  • Perhaps the word is misused, and he is better described as a nihilist, or an annihilist.

    THE ENEMY OF ALL THE WORLD

  • It doesn't mean you can walk the street naked—what I would call nihilist nudity.

    All for the Sake of Art

  • The Real World for the nihilist is the one where life lashes out at all of us, every damned single day -- where hope is a deluded pipedream, and (bleep) happens.

    Wounded Trust, Lost Revenues

  • Or the idea of nihilist terrorists getting a nuke from a failed state like N Korea or Pakistan.

    Russ Feingold's proposed constitutional amendment.

  • A nihilist is a man who does not bow down before any authority, who does not take any principle on faith, whatever reverence that principle may be enshrined in.

    Chapter V

  • Perhaps the word is misused, and he is better described as a nihilist, or an annihilist.

    The Enemy of All the World

  • Perhaps the word is misused, and he his better described as a nihilist, or an annihilist.

    The Enemy of all the World

  • Perhaps the word is misused, and he is better described as a nihilist, or an annihilist.

    The Strength of the Strong

  • They do not want to become what they fight, namely a nihilist who asserts his will rather than good men who obey a notion of justice outside of their own desires.

    South Dakota Politics

Comments

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  • Nihilists! F**k me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

    - Walter Sobchack, in the Big Liebowski

    April 17, 2007