desolation

noun des·o·la·tion \ ˌde-sə-ˈlā-shən , ˌde-zə- \

Definition of desolation

1 :the action of desolating
  • the pitiful desolation and slaughter of World War I
  • —D. F. Fleming
2 a :grief, sadness
  • … he put his trembling hands to his head, and gave a wild ringing scream, the cry of desolation.
  • —George Eliot
3 :devastation, ruin
  • a scene of utter desolation
4 :barren wasteland
  • looked out across the desolation

Examples of desolation in a Sentence

  1. She sank into a state of desolation and despair.

  2. photos that show the desolation of war

Recent Examples of desolation from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of desolation


DESOLATION Defined for English Language Learners

desolation

noun

Definition of desolation for English Language Learners

  • : extreme sadness caused by loss or loneliness

  • : the condition of a place or thing that has been damaged in such a way that it is no longer suitable for people to live in : the state or condition of being desolate


DESOLATION Defined for Kids

desolation

noun des·o·la·tion \ ˌde-sə-ˈlā-shən \

Definition of desolation for Students

1 :the state of being deserted or ruined Photos showed the desolation left by the fire.
2 :sadness resulting from grief or loneliness


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up desolation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

serious difficulty or misfortune

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!