de·​spon·​dent di-ˈspän-dənt How to pronounce despondent (audio)
: feeling or showing extreme discouragement, dejection, or depression
despondent about his health
despondently adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for despondent

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 despondent in a Sentence

His colleagues did not care for his despondent company, which made him suffer more, which perpetuated their distance … Noah Charney, The Art Thief, 2007
The Simpsons' plots are a bit more sophisticated than their Saturday morning counterparts and are occasionally tinged with pathos—as when Homer loses his job at the nuclear-power plant and becomes despondent and even suicidal. Jerry Lazar, TV Guide, 13 Jan. 1990
Writers who spend much time in universities are likely to grow despondent over the future of literature, for there it is treated as a finished thing. Louis Simpson, New York Times Book Review, 21 Nov. 1982
I had never seen them looking so despondent. a group of despondent fans
Recent Examples on the Web There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud or election theft in 2020. ABC News, 12 Nov. 2023 Manchester United shareholders are acting like despondent soccer fans after video-refereeing technology disallows a goal. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2023 Miseducation is an album that’s seeped into people’s lives during their euphoric highs and despondent lows. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 18 Oct. 2023 Hebrew-language social media is saturated with the panicked, despondent last moments, recorded on Whatsapp voice memos and phone calls to loved ones, of those who were killed. Joshua Leifer, The New York Review of Books, 12 Oct. 2023 After attending a ceremony in May commemorating her dead son and others killed in Romania’s 1989 revolution, a despondent mother — driven to despair by more than three decades of fruitless efforts to find out who murdered her 12-year-old boy — made a final plea for justice. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 25 Sep. 2023 Last November, footage of a despondent Quavo hit the net after Takeoff’s passing. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 22 Sep. 2023 That provides a winking in-joke for domestic audiences in his casting here as another shrink, Celeste, the title character’s despondent father, who generally has his head too deep in books to look at life. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Sep. 2023 The farmers may be despondent, but Marris describes this rewilding conflict with passion. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 13 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'despondent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin despondent-, despondens, present participle of despondēre

First Known Use

circa 1699, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of despondent was circa 1699

Dictionary Entries Near despondent

Cite this Entry

“Despondent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: feeling quite discouraged or depressed : being in very low spirits
despondently adverb

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