1

despair

verb de·spair \ di-ˈsper \

Definition of despair

intransitive verb
:to lose all hope or confidence
  • despair of winning
transitive verb
obsolete :to lose hope for

despairer

noun

Examples of despair in a Sentence

  1. It is possible that at this stage Caesar had not altogether despaired of a consensual solution to the difficulties facing the Republic. —Anthony EverittCicero(2001) 2003
  2. Sometimes it is hard not to despair about relations between men and women in American society. They seem to have hit rock bottom. —Elisabeth Lasch-QuinnNew Republic6 May 2002
  3. Yet, until very recently, Alzheimer's was so poorly understood that scientists despaired of finding a treatment, much less a cure. —Ken GarberTechnologyMarch 2001
  4. Things look bad now, but don't despair.

  5. we despaired when we saw how little time we had left to complete our project

Recent Examples of despair from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of despair

Middle English despeiren, from Anglo-French desperer, from Latin desperare, from de- + sperare to hope; akin to Latin spes hope — more at speed

despair Synonyms

Synonyms
despond, lose heart
Antonyms
brighten, cheer (up), perk (up)
Related Words
give up, surrender, yield; darken, sadden; agonize, bleed, grieve, hurt, mourn, sorrow, suffer; discourage, dishearten, dispirit
Near Antonyms
exult, rejoice; assure, encourage, hearten, reassure; hope

2

despair

noun de·spair \ di-ˈsper \

Definition of despair

1 :utter loss of hope
  • a cry of despair
  • gave up in despair
2 :a cause of hopelessness
  • an incorrigible child is the despair of his parents

Examples of despair in a Sentence

  1. On the occasion of Johnson's tercentenary, Martin (A Life of James Boswell) searches out the psychological elements covered up by Boswell and others: the immense insecurities, bouts of deep depression, corrosive self-doubt and, in his last days, despair for his very soul. Publishers Weekly21 July 2008
  2. Players who'd been on the 2004 Olympic team joked about whether their two bronze medals equaled one silver. There was none of the despair or finger-pointing that followed the world championships in '02, when Team USA finished sixth. —Kelly AndersonSports Illustrated11 Sept. 2006
  3. The people who try to save endangered species in Hawaii are immune to despair. They have to be, to keep doing what they do. —Lawrence DownesNew York Times19 Dec. 2004
  4. His despair nearly drove him mad.

  5. I was overcome by despair at being unable to find them.

  6. She finally gave up in despair.

  7. The people were driven to despair by the horrors of war.

  8. This latest setback has brought her to the depths of despair.

Recent Examples of despair from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of despair


DESPAIR Defined for English Language Learners

despair

verb

Definition of despair for English Language Learners

  • : to no longer have any hope or belief that a situation will improve or change


despair

noun

Definition of despair for English Language Learners

  • : the feeling of no longer having any hope

  • : someone or something that causes extreme sadness or worry


DESPAIR Defined for Kids

1

despair

verb de·spair \ di-ˈsper \

Definition of despair for Students

despaired; despairing
:to give up or lose all hope or confidence She began to despair of ever finding her homework paper.

2

despair

noun

Definition of despair for Students

1 :loss of hope :a feeling of complete hopelessness
  • He finally gave up in despair.
2 :a cause of hopelessness


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