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 rejectiondespairing suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency.
despairing appeals for the return of the kidnapped childdesperate 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 overpopulationdespairing applicants need to be reminded that most students are eventually accepted somewhere
Recent Examples on the WebBoth felt that harm reduction efforts had saved their own lives, and helping others was a source of hope at a time that too often could feel despairing.
Joanna Slater, Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2022 The novel’s most humorous events are also its most despairing.
Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, 16 June 2022 The darkness is deeper and sometimes more despairing this year, but the jokes are just as frequent, and maybe even a bit more cathartic.
Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 11 May 2022 Her thoughts grew more despairing during the next few weeks in the hospital and then in the Navy’s psychiatric ward.
Melissa Chan, NBC News, 28 Apr. 2022 People who demonstrate tragic optimism suffer the same—and sometimes even more—pain and sorrow in the short term as those who become pessimistic and despairing.
Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, 20 Jan. 2021 On July 30, 1932, exactly 6 months before Hitler became chancellor of Germany, Albert Einstein sent a despairing letter to Sigmund Freud.
Adam Kuper, WSJ, 6 May 2022 This despairing rhetoric can’t be helping to encourage vaccination.
Benjamin Mazer, The Atlantic, 19 Apr. 2022 Beyond the research evidence, their gut-level take tells them that young people truly have become more anxious and despairing.
Judith Warner, Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2022 See More
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.