de·​jec·​tion di-ˈjek-shən How to pronounce dejection (audio)
: lowness of spirits

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Based partly on the Latin iacere, "to throw", dejection means literally "cast down"—that is, "downcast". Like melancholy, gloom, and even sadness, dejection seems to have been declining in use for many years; instead, we now seem to prefer depression (whose roots mean basically "a pressing down"). Since depression is also the word used by doctors, lots of people now assume that anyone depressed should be taking an antidepressant; if we went back to dejected and dejection, we might not be so quick to make that assumption.

Examples of dejection in a Sentence

I find that ice cream often works wonders when trying to overcome dejection.
Recent Examples on the Web Especially not Vanya, whose dejection turns to fury after the Professor announces a plan to sell the estate, which doesn’t even belong to him. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2023 Burnout, low morale, and dejection have caused many cops, both long-time veterans and newcomers, to quit and change careers and recent public backlash against excessive police force has resulted in a drop in new applications, according to police officials. ABC News, 29 Nov. 2022 Or false modesty switching to dejection when no one corrects it. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 21 Nov. 2022 That means no triumphant strut up to Probst at Tribal Council, followed by equal measures confusion and dejection when the truth is actually revealed. Dalton Ross,, 27 Apr. 2023 Geode, your latest collection, took up the subject of climate change by zooming way out to geologic time, or using legal language, or trying a number of rhetorical approaches that skirted the usual language (panic, scientific-stentorian, dejection and irony) of crisis. Daniel Drake, The New York Review of Books, 13 Nov. 2021 The new album largely picks up where Dangerous left off, with three dozen songs forming an arc that predominantly focuses on alcohol, heartbreak, dejection, and declarations of remorse over bad romantic decisions and bad habits, viewed through the hazy lens of more alcohol. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 4 Mar. 2023 Ronaldo fell to his knees in dejection. Steve Douglas,, 10 Dec. 2022 The intense fear and anger have waned, often giving way to dejection, melancholy and what some people describe as whiplash, says Vaile Wright, a clinical psychologist and the senior director of healthcare innovation at the American Psychological Association. Alex Janin, WSJ, 1 Feb. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dejection was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near dejection

Cite this Entry

“Dejection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​jec·​tion di-ˈjek-shən How to pronounce dejection (audio)
: lowness of spirits

Medical Definition


de·​jec·​tion -ˈjek-shən How to pronounce dejection (audio)
: lowness of spirits : depression, melancholy
: the act or process of defecating

More from Merriam-Webster on dejection

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