Definition of hedonism in English:



mass noun
  • 1The pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

    • ‘The whole point of a sports car is hedonism, the selfish pursuit of pleasure.’
    • ‘He represents bored self-indulgence and hedonism.’
    • ‘There is a critique of hedonism, or the pursuit of pleasure.’
    • ‘To me, hedonism and decadence are completely opposed.’
    • ‘It is a novel about tension between duty and responsibility on the one hand and hedonism and indulgence on the other.’
    • ‘Eventually we all fell asleep on the couch but I, fearing some moment of excessive hedonism, swiftly made an exit.’
    • ‘Surely their fate carries with it lurid tales of hedonism and excessive violence?’
    • ‘We have entered an age of trashy, casual hedonism in which mild decadence is all the rage.’
    • ‘It's a glimpse into the golden age of kings, a lost world of luxury, political scheming, extravagance and hedonism.’
    • ‘And predictably, there have been warnings that the new hedonism itself might be a touch too hedonistic, posing a potential risk to people's health and wellbeing.’
    • ‘The club sold its soul to the devil of capitalism, and whilst the short term gains were success, admiration, a growing international fan base and kudos, that avenue of hedonism has finally delivered the bill.’
    • ‘Their faith, that ‘life is hard and success doesn't come easy ’, is undermined by Joe's evangelism of an earthly paradise of wealth and hedonism.’
    • ‘Traditional songs about love of God, nation, and family are now being pushed to the wayside in the world of country, as new tunes championing hedonism take center stage.’
    • ‘To give in to the idea of being drunk as defining your excitement as a human being would be to cut against the grain of what I believed about social hedonism in the first place - that it was not about running away, but engaging.’
    • ‘In the Town Square, shops have been replaced by cafes and restaurants and the last vestiges of mall functionality have been eradicated completely in favor of lifestyle hedonism.’
    • ‘Other people might get that hedonism via a drunken night out (indeed, I've been known to do this on one or two occasions), watching a movie, sport, whatever.’
    • ‘It's not so much that I've quietened down, as that I've channelled my energies into things that are more productive than out-and-out hedonism.’
    • ‘Let's remember her romance, her image, her hedonism, her families.’
    • ‘How to deal with grave damage while still keeping going economies whose buoyancy is so related to confidence, morale and a degree of hedonism is an even more difficult question.’
    • ‘To her it was a ‘wonderful’ time that allowed the full talents of creative young people to flower, and claims of hedonism are a gross exaggeration.’
    self-indulgence, indulgence, pursuit of pleasure, pleasure-seeking, lotus-eating, epicureanism, epicurism, self-gratification
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Philosophy The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.
      • ‘In the twentieth century, most of those sympathetic to utilitarianism replaced hedonism with the desire-fulfilment theory.’
      • ‘Although hedonism fails as a theory that gives us a fixed end, it does contain a methodological insight.’
      • ‘In fact hedonism, the view that pleasure is our ethical end, is always on the defensive in ancient ethics.’
      • ‘They viewed the world as a great machine, adopted hedonism as their ethics, and interpreted history from a subjective-critical point of view.’
      • ‘So utilitarianism, despite its traditional ties to welfare hedonism, is compatible with any of the four accounts of utility.’


Mid 19th century from Greek hēdonē ‘pleasure’ + -ism.



/ˈhiːd(ə)nɪz(ə)m/ /ˈhɛːd(ə)nɪz(ə)m/