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


bummer, down



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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

But President Trump’s trade brawl with China is turning out to be a huge downer for America’s pistachio farmers who now stand to lose business to Iran. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Tariffs Put a Frown on Pistachio Growers," 16 July 2018 The esteemed Washington Post — winner of Pulitzers, taker-downer of presidents, subject of Oscar-worthy movies — has given him a platform to reach millions with his words, week after week. Heidi Stevens,, "What Richard Cohen fails to understand in his 'white man' column," 18 Apr. 2018 Getty ImagesMagone Theoretically, shouldn’t caffeine (usually an upper) and CBD (usually a downer) work against each other? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "How Hard Should We Lean into This Whole CBD Coffee Trend?," 16 Aug. 2018 The last week or two before the game were a downer for me at the plate. Steve Millar, Daily Southtown, "Carried by Trey: Fulton’s two hits lead the way for Joliet Slammers in Frontier League All-Star Game," 14 July 2018 What follows is a methodical and sustained act of existential self-immolation, as Moshfegh’s narrator lays waste to her own raw human capital, obliterating month after month in a fog of downers, Diet Sprite, and Whoopi Goldberg movies. Alexandra Kleeman, Vanities, "This Novel Provides an Empowering, Grotesque Alternative to Leaning In," 2 July 2018 The Houston Rockets' offseason has been kind of a downer of sorts., "The Rockets Strange Offseason and the Pursuit of Carmelo Anthony," 10 July 2018 Tariffs tend to be economic downers with an impact like sales taxes, which push up costs for consumers and businesses and slow growth. Bob Davis, WSJ, "U.S. Economic Strength Gives Trump Leeway in Trade Fight With China," 6 July 2018 Mostly the largely new and vastly improved Fifth Third was an upper, for what had become a downer venue. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: Upstairs People rewarded with UC's Fifth Third Arena renovations," 17 June 2018

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

1913, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for downer

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for downer

The first known use of downer was in 1913

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More Definitions for downer



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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with downer

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Comments on downer

What made you want to look up downer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of authority or knowledge

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