- The quality of being very self-centered or selfish.
- (Philosophy) The view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
“My final paper for Philosophy 101 argued against solipsism, or why I believe there is more than just the self.”
“Teenagers are often accused of solipsism, or extreme selfishness.”
“In the year after my mother passed, I was stuck in solipsism and unable to focus on anything but myself.”
Latin, mid-19th century
Why this word?
The word “solipsism” is cobbled together from a few Latin words: “solus” (“alone”), “ipse” (“self”), and the “-ism” suffix, which forms nouns. German philosophers combined these parts in the mid-19th century for a theory that one’s own mind is all that exists — anything outside of it cannot be known. As time passed, the name for the philosophical belief was adopted into more casual usage to describe the general quality of being self-centered. However, solipsism isn’t an average preoccupation with self; it’s an extreme form of selfishness.
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