des·​per·​a·​tion | \ ˌde-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce desperation (audio) \

Definition of desperation

1 : loss of hope and surrender to despair
2 : a state of hopelessness leading to rashness

Synonyms & Antonyms for desperation



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Examples of desperation in a Sentence

She felt overcome by desperation. the desperation of severe poverty They hired me out of desperation, because they couldn't get anyone else. Finally, in desperation, he tried to flee the country.
Recent Examples on the Web Those correspondences show Harris has repeatedly expressed her desperation. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022 Unfortunately, his desperation for a win likely means that next three weeks are sure to bring even worse death and destruction to Ukraine. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 18 Apr. 2022 But Pine makes James’s gullibility, and his desperation, believable. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 1 Apr. 2022 Her desperation has been palpable and deserves to be rewarded. Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 24 Mar. 2022 Hoggard locked up Lee, blocking his desperation 3-point attempt to force a shot clock violation with about four minutes to play. Hoggard kept attacking off the drive, getting into the lane for a runner with 3:38 left. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 19 Mar. 2022 So what can Bennett do, other than provide Zelensky an ear to convey his desperation, and Putin a voice to amplify his ultimatum? Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2022 Yale, which had two 5-second violations in the final minutes, threw a long inbounds pass that Llewellyn intercepted, but his desperation heave wasn’t close. Staff Reports,, 13 Mar. 2022 As the women energetically share anecdotes, liberally peppering their stories with offensive language, their desperation becomes more apparent. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of desperation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for desperation

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The first known use of desperation was in the 14th century

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Statistics for desperation

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Desperation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for desperation


des·​per·​a·​tion | \ ˌde-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce desperation (audio) \

Kids Definition of desperation

: a condition of hopelessness often leading to recklessness

More from Merriam-Webster on desperation

Nglish: Translation of desperation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of desperation for Arabic Speakers


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