down·​er | \ ˈdau̇-nər How to pronounce downer (audio) \

Definition of downer

1 : a weak, sick, or crippled animal in shipment that is down and cannot get up often used attributively a downer cow
2 : a depressant drug especially : barbiturate
3 : someone or something depressing, disagreeable, or unsatisfactory

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Synonyms & Antonyms for downer



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Examples of downer in a Sentence

I took some downers to help me sleep. “His cat just died.” “Oh, that's a real downer.” Our conversation about death was a bit of a downer.
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Recent Examples on the Web And while overall the service style is well-tuned and attentive, there is one downer to the experience. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 June 2021 There’s nothing that’s more of a downer than seeing everyone muted. Christopher Arnott,, 19 May 2021 The Colbert interview was hardly a downer, however. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2021 The Dark Knight would rub our noses in our post-9/11 moral failures, complete with a downer ending. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 4 May 2021 By Eve Sneider Not to be a downer, but: not so fast. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, 22 Mar. 2021 Watch to see if this downer sentiment begins to spill into the stock markets. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2021 Last Sunday's 17th-place result at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was his season's first real downer following finishes of 1st, 8th and 6th. Michael Knight, The Arizona Republic, 11 Mar. 2021 But this story, by young adult author L.L. McKinney, is no downer. Andrew A. Smith Tribune News Service, Star Tribune, 1 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'downer.' 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 downer

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for downer

Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Downer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of downer

: a drug that makes the body relax
: something that is unpleasant or depressing


down·​er | \ ˈdau̇-nər How to pronounce downer (audio) \

Medical Definition of downer

: a depressant drug especially : barbiturate

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