de·​spair·​ing | \ di-ˈsper-iŋ How to pronounce despairing (audio) \

Definition of despairing

: given to, arising from, or marked by despair : devoid of hope

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Other Words from despairing

despairingly \ di-​ˈsper-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce despairing (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for despairing

despondent, despairing, desperate, hopeless mean having lost all or nearly all hope. despondent implies a deep dejection arising from a conviction of the uselessness of further effort. despondent about yet another rejection despairing suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency. despairing appeals for the return of the kidnapped child desperate implies despair that prompts reckless action or violence in the face of defeat or frustration. one last desperate attempt to turn the tide of battle hopeless suggests despair and the cessation of effort or resistance and often implies acceptance or resignation. the situation of the trapped miners is hopeless

Examples of despairing in a Sentence

despairing predictions regarding the effects of global overpopulation despairing applicants need to be reminded that most students are eventually accepted somewhere
Recent Examples on the Web The Game Two crowd was hardened by a tough loss; there was a palpably despairing edge in the building, only streaked through with joy. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 2 June 2021 Usually judgmental and despairing, Sophie’s descriptions of the memory were surprising, imbued with compassion for herself as well as her father. Scott Shannon, Wired, 18 May 2021 Other than that, it’s all one long, despairing blur en route to becoming worm food. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 25 Mar. 2021 The flower industry's pandemic success at the retail level has revealed our zealous, if not a little despairing, need to nurture relationships from a distance. Carly Lewis, Star Tribune, 23 Feb. 2021 The flower industry’s pandemic success at the retail level has revealed our zealous, if not a little despairing, need to nurture relationships from a distance. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2021 People on all political sides and on none are scared and despairing. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, 11 Jan. 2021 But such work-arounds had their limits, as evidenced by Pate’s journal entries at the time, which were increasingly despairing. USA Today, 10 Dec. 2020 However, against the run of play, Rashford once again got Manchester United back into the game, although it was accompanied by a large slice of luck, after his long-range shot was deflected past the despairing Keylor Navas in goal. Ben Morse, CNN, 2 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'despairing.' 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 despairing

1589, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for despairing

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The first known use of despairing was in 1589

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Statistics for despairing

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Despairing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for despairing



English Language Learners Definition of despairing

: feeling very sad and without hope : showing or feeling despair


de·​spair·​ing | \ di-ˈsper-iŋ \

Kids Definition of despairing

: having or showing no hope a despairing voice

Other Words from despairing

despairingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on despairing

Nglish: Translation of despairing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of despairing for Arabic Speakers


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