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 attributivelya 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 The aforementioned wedding dress discussion and photo were a real downer. Jean Bentley,, "R29 Binge Club: Selling Sunset Season 2 Recap," 27 May 2020 Wiping the fair from the 2020 calendar would constitute a major downer. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Will the State Fair of Texas be canceled? Those who will make the decision ponder the unthinkable," 1 May 2020 Being stuck at home doesn’t have to be a total downer. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "MoMa Is Offering Free Online Courses for Art Lovers (and People Trying to Understand It)," 18 Apr. 2020 Plus, the isolation can quickly become a downer for those used to socializing at work. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "5 Tips for Staying Productive and Mentally Healthy While You're Working From Home," 12 Mar. 2020 Lavie: Science fiction with environmental concerns tends to be a bit of a downer, doesn’t it? Lavie Tidhar, Washington Post, "Let’s talk about how science fiction has dealt with environmental change. It’s not all depressing.," 6 Jan. 2020 The 6-10 season that followed was a downer with more firings. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "What are Cleveland Browns thinking about Odell Beckham? How about ticket prices?," 9 Feb. 2020 Frontier’s exodus is also viewed as a downer for Mobile that has, up until this point, experienced momentum in transferring its commercial air service from Mobile Regional Airport to the Downtown Airport at Brookley. al, "Boeing 737 Max grounding blamed for Frontier’s exodus from Mobile," 7 Jan. 2020 The two final drives of the half had to be huge downers for the Wolverines: both advanced deep into Ohio State territory, and resulted in a combined three points. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football trying hard to keep up with Ohio State, but mistakes have been costly," 30 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for downer

Time Traveler

The first known use of downer was in 1886

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Statistics for downer

Last Updated

16 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Downer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce downer (audio)

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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