[ dih-presh-uhn ]
See synonyms for depression on
  1. the act of depressing.

  2. the state of being depressed.

  1. a depressed or sunken place or part; an area lower than the surrounding surface.

  2. Psychiatry. a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.: Compare clinical depression.

  3. dullness or inactivity, as of trade.

  4. Economics. a period during which business, employment, and stock-market values decline severely or remain at a very low level of activity.

  5. the Depression. Great Depression.

  6. Pathology. a low state of vital powers or functional activity.

  7. Astronomy. the angular distance of a celestial body below the horizon; negative altitude.

  8. Surveying. angle of depression.

  9. 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.

  10. Meteorology. an area of low atmospheric pressure.

Origin of depression

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English (from Anglo-French ), from Medieval Latin dēpressiōn- (stem of dēpressiō ), Late Latin: “a pressing down,” equivalent to Latin dēpress(us) + -iōn- noun suffix; see depress, -ion

Other words for depression

Other words from depression

  • an·ti·de·pres·sion, adjective, noun
  • min·i·de·pres·sion, noun
  • non·de·pres·sion, noun
  • post·de·pres·sion, adjective
  • pre·de·pres·sion, noun, adjective

Words Nearby depression Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use depression in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for depression (1 of 2)


/ (dɪˈprɛʃən) /

  1. the act of depressing or state of being depressed

  2. a depressed or sunken place or area

  1. a mental disorder characterized by extreme gloom, feelings of inadequacy, and inability to concentrate

  2. pathol an abnormal lowering of the rate of any physiological activity or function, such as respiration

  3. an economic condition characterized by substantial and protracted unemployment, low output and investment, etc; slump

  4. Also called: cyclone, low meteorol a large body of rotating and rising air below normal atmospheric pressure, which often brings rain

  5. (esp in surveying and astronomy) the angular distance of an object, celestial body, etc, below the horizontal plane through the point of observation: Compare elevation (def. 11)

British Dictionary definitions for Depression (2 of 2)


/ (dɪˈprɛʃən) /

  1. the Depression the worldwide economic depression of the early 1930s, when there was mass unemployment: Also 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

Scientific definitions for depression


[ dĭ-prĕshən ]

  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.

  1. A reduction in the activity of a physiological process, such as respiration.

  2. 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.

Cultural definitions for depression


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.