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present participle of despair

Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective despairing differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of despairing are desperate, despondent, and hopeless. While all these words mean "having lost all or nearly all hope," despairing suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency.

despairing appeals for the return of the kidnapped child

When is it sensible to use desperate instead of despairing?

While the synonyms desperate and despairing are close in meaning, 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

When might despondent be a better fit than despairing?

While in some cases nearly identical to despairing, despondent implies a deep dejection arising from a conviction of the uselessness of further effort.

despondent about yet another rejection

Where would hopeless be a reasonable alternative to despairing?

The synonyms hopeless and despairing are sometimes interchangeable, but hopeless suggests despair and the cessation of effort or resistance and often implies acceptance or resignation.

the situation of the trapped miners is hopeless

Thesaurus Entries Near despairing

Cite this Entry

“Despairing.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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