Defeating Defeatism: Defeatist Meaning & Definition

What are the basics of defeatism?

Defeatist is a word with many different meanings, depending on the context. Defeatism can describe someone who is pessimistic about their chances of winning. It can also refer to a person or team that believes they cannot win and do not try as hard as possible. This blog post will explore defeatist meanings and definitions, including examples from literature and history.

What is the mental side of defeatism?

It’s an emotional state or behavioral pattern characteristic of a person who has lost hope or been overwhelmed by the feeling that there is no possible solution or escape from a difficult situation.

  • Defeatists don’t have an interest in living and do not see any possibilities in their lives.
  • The defeatist attitude is well illustrated in the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

Yossarian, a pilot during World War II, opposed flying bombing missions over Italy because he believed it caused more casualties than necessary and ordered his superior officers not to send him on any further ones. However, they refused, and Yossarian decided not to fly in response to their refusal and kept this attitude throughout the novel.

Another example of defeatist meaning is a team that believes they cannot win and does not try as hard as possible. This can be seen in football when teams play with an injury or suspension-prone player even though better alternatives are available. They do this to avoid losing the game and being blamed for a defeat, rather than trying their best with what they have got.

What are Examples of Defeatism?

In literature, defeatist is used to describe a person or team that believes they cannot win and so does not try as hard as they could have. History describes someone who holds a pessimistic attitude towards something or believes that they cannot win.

The best example of defeatist character is Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones. When considering how to deal with Daenerys Targaryen, she says, “Fire can kill them [dragons]. Fire will be our champion now. We’ve lost the war.” Cersei has already lost the war, and she knows it. She is a defeatist because her attitude towards Daenerys Targaryen shows she does not think they can win anymore.

A modern-day example of a defeatist team would be Portugal’s national football team in Euro 2012 when they played against Denmark after losing to Germany in their previous match by four goals. Even though Ronaldo was back from his injury, he only came on as a late substitute despite scoring four German goals.

This loss led many commentators to say that Portuguese players are now scared of playing for their country again due to the fear of them becoming scapegoats if things go wrong, leading yet another commentator to label this an act of “defeatism.”

What are historical examples of defeatism?

One example of how a nation can be defeated is Japan during World War II, after attacking Pearl Harbor and bombing several vital military bases. Following these events, they believed that further attacks against America would be impossible to win and chose not to fight for the rest of WWII. This defeatism is what led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Another example of defeatist meaning can be seen with Hitler’s Soviet Union during WWII, who, after being pushed back by Nazi Germany, chose not to fight for themselves but instead surrender and then allow Russia to become part of the Axis powers. This allowed them a chance at regaining some territory.

However, it also meant they would have fewer resources than before, and their oil supplies now come from enemy territory. Many historians believe this was an act of complete defeatism on behalf of Stalin as he knew his chances were slim against Germany (which later proved true), so he decided not even to try anymore.

What are tips not to be a defeatist?

  • Take one day at a time,
  • Identify your limitations and strengths,
  • Fill your time with things that will help you in general and your current situation in particular.
  • Look for meaning in life’s difficulties instead of looking at them as meaningless. Expose yourself to what can inspire you and give you hope.

How could one summarize defeatism?

1. Defeatism is the belief that success or achievement in something is impossible, mainly because of factors such as poverty, race, or religion

2. A defeatist can be someone who has resigned themselves to failure and stopped trying to find a solution to a problem

3. Defeatists might believe that they are powerless to change their situation, and instead of trying to improve things, they give up

4. When people become defeatist, it can also affect those around them who now feel like giving up as well

5. The opposite of defeatism is optimism which can be used to help people overcome obstacles in their lives

6. To combat feelings of defeatism, people need to appreciate what they have and remember that there are always new opportunities waiting just around the corner


In conclusion, defeatist describes a pessimistic attitude towards something or belief that they cannot win. It can also be used to stop trying because you think you cannot win.

This word is also used to describe a team that does not try as hard as possible to avoid losing or plays with an injury or suspension-prone player even though there are better alternatives available not to lose the game and be blamed for the defeat.


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