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

Having dealt with depression opened my heart to have more empathy for people in general. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds Is On a New Kind of Mission for the Mormon Church," 12 July 2018 Kathryn Dennis is opening up about the effects of her battle with depression. Natalie Stone,, "Southern Charm's Kathryn Dennis Confides in Shep Rose About Her Depression: 'I Fell Off the Grid'," 27 June 2018 There is also a growing body of evidence showing how meditation can help patients with depression. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "From Meditation to Medication: Headspace Has a Prescription Strategy," 25 June 2018 The chef and co-owner of celebrated San Antonio restaurant Mixtli was diagnosed with clinical depression after a suicide attempt in 2009. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio’s food pros react to the news of Anthony Bourdain’s death," 8 June 2018 Image Reports of Kate Spade’s suicide and struggle with depression instantly transformed her from symbol of polished prep to a blunt reminder that suffering affects all types. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "What to Do When a Loved One Is Severely Depressed," 7 June 2018 Reta Saffo, Kate's big sister, told The Star on Tuesday that Kate had struggled with depression. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "Superwomen like Kate Spade smile to hide the pain. Time to hang up the cape and live," 5 June 2018 Not only will the upcoming season explore Toby's battle with depression, but viewers will learn more about his backstory as well. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "'This Is Us' creator Dan Fogelman reveals key info about Season 3," 30 May 2018 Klebold said her son and her son's friend helped set a template for others, leading young people with depression, thoughts of suicide or other struggles to believe a mass shooting is an escape route. Anchorage Daily News, "For 'Columbiners,' school shootings have a deadly allure," 30 May 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

18 Sep 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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Comments on depression

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the setting in which something occurs

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