Debbie Downer

noun

Deb·​bie Down·​er ˈde-bē-ˈdau̇-nər How to pronounce Debbie Downer (audio)
plural Debbie Downers
informal
: a negative or pessimistic person : a person who speaks only of the bad or depressing aspects of something and lessens the enthusiasm or pleasure of others
OK, now I really don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but 2018 has not been an easy one, my friends.Valerie Mesa
"If this is all supposed to be a big joke perpetuated on residents, I expect they probably violated the law to pull it off," said [Barbara] Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation. "I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but seriously, I don't think they thought this through."Associated Press
I'm always the Debbie Downer and I'm always Mr. Negative … I call it like I see it.Brent Venables

Examples of Debbie Downer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Maher’s dour mug resembles a Debbie Downer; his only mirth comes from disbelieving or humiliating someone else for having a different point of view. Armond White, National Review, 7 June 2024 My question to you: Is there a better way to answer this question honestly without being a real Debbie Downer? Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 Working With a Debbie Downer My colleague at work is a real downer. Roxane Gay, New York Times, 14 Oct. 2023 Rachel Dratch is looking back on a behind-the-scenes Saturday Night Live moment that would have made Debbie Downer proud. Emlyn Travis, EW.com, 12 Apr. 2023 The movie also strikes a note of agreeably transgressive comedy when Cranky Kong and his crew, who’ve been placed in hanging cages, have to the endure the presence of a glowing star who voices Debbie Downer existential despair in the ickiest of baby voices. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 4 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Debbie Downer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

alliterative combination of the personal name Debbie and downer

Note: Name popularized, if not introduced, by a skit character Debbie Downer on the American television variety show Saturday Night Live; the character first appeared in the program for May 1, 2004.

First Known Use

2005, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Debbie Downer was in 2005

Dictionary Entries Near Debbie Downer

Cite this Entry

“Debbie Downer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Debbie%20Downer. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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