See more synonyms for depression on
  1. the act of depressing.
  2. the state of being depressed.
  3. a depressed or sunken place or part; an area lower than the surrounding surface.
  4. sadness; gloom; dejection.
  5. Psychiatry. a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.Compare clinical depression.
  6. dullness or inactivity, as of trade.
  7. Economics. a period during which business, employment, and stock-market values decline severely or remain at a very low level of activity.
  8. the Depression. Great Depression.
  9. Pathology. a low state of vital powers or functional activity.
  10. Astronomy. the angular distance of a celestial body below the horizon; negative altitude.
  11. Surveying. the angle between the line from an observer or instrument to an object below either of them and a horizontal line.
  12. Physical Geography. an area completely or mostly surrounded by higher land, ordinarily having interior drainage and not conforming to the valley of a single stream.
  13. Meteorology. an area of low atmospheric pressure.

Origin of depression

1350–1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin dēpressiōn- (stem of dēpressiō), Late Latin: a pressing down, equivalent to Latin dēpress(us) (see depress) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsan·ti·de·pres·sion, adjective, nounmin·i·de·pres·sion, nounnon·de·pres·sion, nounpost·de·pres·sion, adjectivepre·de·pres·sion, noun, adjective

Synonyms for depression

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for depression

Contemporary Examples of depression

Historical Examples of depression

  • "There's not much variety," he answered, with a convincing droop of depression.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The depression in business also had its effect upon the country.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • In my lifetime—in depression and in war—they have awaited our defeat.

  • But, what with the heat and with heaviness of spirit, he did not notice her depression until he rose.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The hope of motherhood alternated with black fits of depression.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for depression


  1. the act of depressing or state of being depressed
  2. a depressed or sunken place or area
  3. a mental disorder characterized by extreme gloom, feelings of inadequacy, and inability to concentrate
  4. pathol an abnormal lowering of the rate of any physiological activity or function, such as respiration
  5. an economic condition characterized by substantial and protracted unemployment, low output and investment, etc; slump
  6. Also called: cyclone, low meteorol a large body of rotating and rising air below normal atmospheric pressure, which often brings rain
  7. (esp in surveying and astronomy) the angular distance of an object, celestial body, etc, below the horizontal plane through the point of observationCompare elevation (def. 11)


  1. the Depression the worldwide economic depression of the early 1930s, when there was mass unemploymentAlso known as: the Great Depression, the Slump
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

Word Origin and History for depression

late 14c. as a term in astronomy, from Old French depression (14c.) or directly from Latin depressionem (nominative depressio), noun of action from past participle stem of deprimere "to press down, depress" (see depress).

Attested from 1650s in the literal sense; meaning "dejection, depression of spirits" is from early 15c. (as a clinical term in psychology, from 1905); meteorological sense is from 1881 (in reference to barometric pressure); meaning "a lowering or reduction in economic activity" was in use by 1826; given a specific application (with capital D-) by 1934 to the one that began worldwide in 1929. For "melancholy, depression" an Old English word was grevoushede.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

depression in Medicine


  1. The act of depressing or the state of being depressed.
  2. A reduction in physiological vigor or activity.
  3. A lowering in amount, degree, or position.
  4. An inward displacement of a body part.
  5. A hollow or sunken area.
  6. The condition of feeling sad or despondent.
  7. A psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death.clinical depression
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

depression in Science


  1. A geographic area, such as a sinkhole or basin, that is lower than its surroundings.
  2. A mood disorder characterized by an inability to experience pleasure, difficulty in concentrating, disturbance of sleep and appetite, and feelings of sadness, guilt, and helplessness.
  3. A reduction in the activity of a physiological process, such as respiration.
  4. A region of low atmospheric pressure. Low pressure systems result in precipitation, ranging from mild to severe in intensity. See also cyclone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

depression in Culture


A period of drastic decline in the national economy, characterized by decreasing business activity, falling prices, and unemployment. The best known of such periods is the Great Depression, which occurred in the 1930s.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.