- loss of hope; hopelessness.
- someone or something that causes hopelessness: He is the despair of his mother.
- to lose, give up, or be without hope (often followed by of): to despair of humanity.
- Obsolete. to give up hope of.
Origin of despair
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for despair
Three months of despair were ignited in suburban Missouri when officer Darren Wilson was told he would walk free.Raging Protesters Set Ferguson on Fire
November 25, 2014
It may be nothing other than anger and despair, at this point.Ferguson Protesters Harass Black Police, Call for Darren Wilson’s Death
November 21, 2014
I highly doubt that anyone not already in a state of despair would look to war as an antidote to Godlessness.There Are Only Atheists in Fox Holes
October 5, 2014
Rage, despair, and confusion trail in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown.How We Got to Ferguson—a Reading List
August 23, 2014
But addressing that “winter of despair” should not reinforce the inaccurate perceptions.Why the US-Africa Summit Was Important and Why It Wasn't Enough
August 9, 2014
He wears the look of one who is gnawed with envy, and he heaves the sigh of despair.
He was seized with fear for what he might do in his despair.
Hope looked round in despair, then glanced at her own disordered garments.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
True, we have come far from the days of stagnation and despair.
Our destiny offers, not the cup of despair, but the chalice of opportunity.
- (intr often foll by of) to lose or give up hopeI despair of his coming
- (tr) obsolete to give up hope of; lose hope in
- total loss of hope
- a person or thing that causes hopelessness or for which there is no hope
Word Origin and History for despair
early 14c., from stem of Old French desperer "be dismayed, lose hope, despair," from Latin desperare "to despair, to lose all hope," from de- "without" + sperare "to hope," from spes "hope" (see speed). Related: Despaired; despairing; despairingly.
c.1300, from Anglo-French despeir, Old French despoir, from desperer (see despair (v.)). Replaced native wanhope.