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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Wisconsin still could have attempted a desperation 3-pointer if Anderson missed his second attempt and the Badgers got the offensive rebound. Steve Megargee, ajc, "Illini win 74-69 as Wisconsin's Trice-led rally falls short," 27 Feb. 2021 The ball went back to Oregon, senior guard Chris Duarte hit two free throws with three seconds left, and Allen’s desperation 35-foot bomb for the tie never had a chance. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak reprimanded by Pac-12 for comments after Oregon loss," 24 Feb. 2021 Like a shark scenting blood, Jeanne smelled Rohan’s desperation from a mile away. Tori Telfer,, "The Sordid Tale Of The Woman Who Scammed Marie-Antoinette," 23 Feb. 2021 For once, the Mustangs’ 3-point magic failed on a desperation attempt and South Grand Prairie could finally relax. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "Boys basketball playoffs: South Grand Prairie remains undefeated; Naaman Forest wins in final seconds," 23 Feb. 2021 Unscrupulous contractors take advantage of people’s desperation by inflating costs or taking money in advance and not completing a job, among other schemes. Nerd Wallet, oregonlive, "How to get the most home insurance help after a winter storm," 22 Feb. 2021 Arizona State called a time out, but Alonzo Verge Jr.'s desperation half-court shot was off target as the horn sounded. Joe Reedy, Star Tribune, "UCLA rallies past Arizona State to give Cronin 400th victory," 21 Feb. 2021 Fern keeps crossing paths with Linda May—who lost her job in 2008, found herself in emotional and economic desperation, and, with only meagre Social Security benefits to sustain her, is able to subsist only by living in a van. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Nomadland,” Reviewed: Chloé Zhao’s Nostalgic Portrait of Itinerant America," 19 Feb. 2021 All of your feelings -- from desperation, to anger, to numbness, to the whole-body heartache that thrums beneath it all -- are valid. cleveland, "Dear Annie: I didn’t just lose my husband. I lost a part of myself," 19 Feb. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of desperation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for desperation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for desperation

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Desperation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for desperation



English Language Learners Definition of desperation

: a strong feeling of sadness, fear, and loss of hope


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

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Comments on desperation

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