Word of the Day : December 23, 2012

seasonal affective disorder

noun SEE-zuh-nul-a-FEK-tiv-diss-OR-der


: depression that tends to recur as the days grow shorter during the fall and winter

Did You Know?

"Seasonal affective disorder" hasn't been recognized as a medical condition for very long, and the term has only become part of the general English vocabulary during the past three decades or so (its earliest documented appearance in print dates from 1983). "Seasonal affective disorder" (abbreviated SAD) is also sometimes called "Winter Depression" and some researchers describe it as a "hibernation reaction" in which sensitive individuals react to the decreasing amounts of light and the colder temperatures of fall and winter.


A person could really get the better of seasonal affective disorder if he or she could spend November to March in the southern hemisphere.

"Having suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the past, I fully appreciate the feel-good factor of sunshine. I couldn't believe how low I became on a recent visit to Cyprus when it rained heavily and was overcast for almost a week." - From an e-mail from Lisa Conway published in Good Housekeeping (UK), April 2012

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "obdurate," our Word of the Day from November 24? The answer is ...


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!