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90s Slang You Should Know


[dohl-druh mz, dol-, dawl-] /ˈdoʊl drəmz, ˈdɒl-, ˈdɔl-/
noun, (used with a plural verb)
a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art:
August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises.
the doldrums.
  1. a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
  2. the weather prevailing in this area.
a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.
Origin of doldrums
1795-1805; obsolete dold stupid (see dolt) + -rum(s) (plural) noun suffix (see tantrum)
3. depression, gloom, melancholy, dejection. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for doldrums
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But we were in the doldrums; there was no telling where the southeast trades were, nor where we would pick them up.

  • After a year in the doldrums, Fleet was going to try to smash the Rebels again.

    A Question of Courage Jesse Franklin Bone
  • Well, we reached the tropics, and for three days the doldrums held us.

  • Oh, well, there was no sense in staying in the doldrums forever.

    Hunters Out of Space Joseph Everidge Kelleam
  • But she thought she saw the reason for it by the way Updyke brought the sick man out of his doldrums.

    Dreamy Hollow Sumner Charles Britton
British Dictionary definitions for doldrums


noun the doldrums
a depressed or bored state of mind
a state of inactivity or stagnation
  1. a belt of light winds or calms along the equator
  2. the weather conditions experienced in this belt, formerly a hazard to sailing vessels
Word Origin
C19: probably from Old English doldull, influenced by tantrum
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 doldrums

1811, from dulled, past participle of dullen, from Old English dol "foolish, dull," ending perhaps patterned on tantrum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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doldrums in Science
A region of the globe found over the oceans near the equator in the intertropical convergence zone and having weather characterized variously by calm air, light winds, or squalls and thunderstorms. Hurricanes originate in this region.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with doldrums


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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