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 despairingly (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

A few dozen people on Wednesday morning went out looking for people who had posted despairing messages on social media accounts. Mike Ives,, "Hong Kong protesters take stock after arrests and China’s condemnation," 3 July 2019 As ever, Ulster’s politicians seem incapable of looking beyond a despairing past, blind to any future hope that could be on offer. K. V. Turley, National Review, "Border Posts and Border Ghosts," 1 July 2019 If Dayan’s mother haunts the book — destructive, passionate and despairing — Lucille cuts through the posturing with reminders of mortality. Jane Tompkins,, "Colin Dayan's 'In the Belly of Her Ghost' exorcises memories of mother after she's gone," 5 June 2019 The uncertainty over the administration’s approach has left global businesses that compete or cooperate with China at turns hopeful and despairing. Ana Swanson, New York Times, "Businesses Race to Washington to Sway Trump on China Tariffs," 15 May 2018 Japan doubled their lead on 52 minutes when Inui unleashed a thunderbolt shot off his right boot which flew past the despairing Courtois. Ryland James,, "Chadli fires Belgium into World Cup's last eight," 2 July 2018 But Melville finds no role, consoling or otherwise, for religion in his novella, and the despairing futility at its heart was unprecedented in American literature of the time. James Gardner, WSJ, "Debilitated, But Infinitely Human," 31 Aug. 2018 After receiving the ball in the final third from Koke, the winger had the time to turn, compose and shoot a pin-point shot thunderously past a despairing Neto., "Atletico Madrid 1-0 Valencia: Correa Hits Winner in Tense Top of the Table Clash," 4 Feb. 2018 Miguel Trauco burst into the box and squeezed a pass through to Guerrero, whose shot took a deflection off Mark Milligan and past the despairing dive of Matt Ryan., "Australia 0-2 Peru: Socceroos Eliminated as Incas Bid Farewell With First World Cup Win in 40 Years," 26 June 2018

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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Statistics for despairing

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for despairing

The first known use of despairing was in 1589

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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

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Comments on despairing

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


to complain fretfully

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