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[des-puh-rey-shuh n] /ˌdɛs pəˈreɪ ʃən/
the state of being desperate or of having the recklessness of despair.
the act or fact of despairing; despair.
Origin of desperation
1325-75; Middle English desperacioun < Latin dēspērātiōn- (stem of dēspērātiō). See desperate, -ion
Synonym Study
1. See despair. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for desperation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But, nerved as he was by desperation, he found the task greater than he could compass.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • At last in desperation you embody it in a poem, an essay, a story.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • Burke inquired in desperation before the plaintive outburst.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Her desperation lent her invention; just in this one way he must not find her out.

  • Perhaps in desperation you may assume the role of cook yourself.

    A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
British Dictionary definitions for desperation


desperate recklessness
the act of despairing or the state of being desperate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for desperation

mid-14c., from Middle French désperation or directly from Latin desperationem (nominative desperatio) "despair, hopelessness," noun of action from past participle stem of desperare "lose hope" (see despair (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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