de·​pres·​sion | \di-ˈpre-shən, dē-\

Definition of depression 

1 : an act of depressing or a state of being depressed: such as

a(1) : a state of feeling sad : dejection anger, anxiety, and depression

(2) : a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies bouts of depression suffering from clinical depression

b(1) : a reduction in activity, amount, quality, or force a depression in trade

(2) biology : a lowering of physical or mental vitality or of functional activity

c : a pressing down : lowering a depression of the tab key

2 economics : a period of low general economic activity marked especially by rising levels of unemployment heading towards a depression periods of economic depression

3 : a place or part that is lower than the surrounding area : a depressed place or part : hollow The chicken pox left several depressions in her skin.

4 meteorology : low entry 4 sense 1b a tropical depression

5a astronomy : the angular distance of a celestial object below the horizon

b mathematics : the size of an angle of depression

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Examples of depression in a Sentence

She has been undergoing treatment for severe depression. Many people suffer from clinical depression for years before being diagnosed. After several years of an economic boom, it looks as though we may be heading toward a depression. The photographs show depressions in the moon's surface.
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Recent Examples on the Web

College students in general are reporting more depression and anxiety than ever. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "College Sports’ Newest Need: Psychologists," 8 Nov. 2018 A day after the shooting, Hussain's parents issued a statement outlining their son's battle with depression and psychosis. Fox News, "Police papers say Toronto shooter 'emotionally disturbed'," 20 Sep. 2018 Male survivors face increased risk of suicide, depression and mental illness, and addiction, but with proper support, healing is possible for survivors. Joanna Schroeder, Vox, "The alleged encounter between Asia Argento and Jimmy Bennett is an example.," 23 Aug. 2018 These failures are part of a broader collapse of Venezuela’s health system, caused by the socialist regime’s ruinous policies, which have led to shortages, economic depression and hyperinflation. The Economist, "[CORRECTED] Polio returns to Venezuela, and threatens the region," 16 June 2018 Over 90% of youth who die by suicide suffer from depression or another diagnosable and treatable mental illness at the time of their death. Brooke Bunce, Teen Vogue, "New York and Virginia to Require Mental Health Education," 3 July 2018 Some, perhaps many, individuals with opioid use disorder have other physical, psychological, and social issues — depression, anxiety, other substance use disorders, social isolation, unemployment, and the like — that complicate treatment. Patrick Skerrett, STAT, "Hey, doctors: Why aren’t you stepping up to treat people with opioid addiction?," 5 July 2018 Spanking can lead to greater rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse, and to a cycle of more abuse throughout generations of families. Meghan Leahy,, "I don't want to spank my sassy 4-year-old. What should I do instead?," 5 July 2018 Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for DID, although medication may alleviate symptoms (depression, anxiety, etc.). Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Emotional trauma can lead to dissociative identity disorder," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'depression.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of depression

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

History and Etymology for depression

see depress

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Statistics for depression

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for depression

The first known use of depression was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for depression



Financial Definition of depression

What It Is

A depression is a sustained downturn in economic activity characterized by high unemployment, decreased output and reduced levels of trade.

How It Works

Low levels of consumer confidence during times of depression generally result in a severe drop in consumer demand and spending. This leads companies to cut costs by reducing their workforces, resulting in high unemployment and even lower consumer confidence and spending. Prices and wages spiral downward, causing more turmoil.

The Great Depression of the 1930s is the best example of the far-reaching economic and social impact a depression can have.

Why It Matters

A depression can have devastating social and economic effects. It is generally accepted that dramatic government intervention is required in order to move an economy from depression to recovery.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of depression

: a state of feeling sad

: a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way

: a period of time in which there is little economic activity and many people do not have jobs


de·​pres·​sion | \di-ˈpre-shən \

Kids Definition of depression

1 : an act of pressing down depression of the brake pedal

2 : a hollow place or part My foot made a depression in the sand.

3 : a feeling of sadness Your support eased my depression.

4 : a period of low activity in business with much unemployment

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de·​pres·​sion | \di-ˈpresh-ən \

Medical Definition of depression 

1 : a displacement downward or inward depression of the jaw

2 : an act of depressing or a state of being depressed: as

a(1) : a state of feeling sad

(2) : a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty with thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts or an attempt to commit suicide

b : a reduction in functional activity, amount, quality, or force depression of autonomic function depression of red blood cells

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