verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
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Origin of despair
synonym study for despair
OTHER WORDS FROM despairde·spair·er, nounself-de·spair, nounun·de·spaired, adjective
Words nearby despair
What does despair mean?
To despair is to lose all hope. Despair can also be used as a noun meaning complete hopelessness.
Despair usually involves deep sadness and emotional pain about something that has happened or that hasn’t happened—something usually triggers the despair. This is especially the case in serious and very negative situations that involve finality, such as death or a devastating loss in a political election.
The verb despair implies that one is giving up—that they believe there is nothing more to be done to make things better. When someone says, “Don’t despair,” they’re telling you not to lose hope—to keep trying or to believe that things can improve.
When used as a verb, despair is sometimes followed by the word of and the thing for which hope has been lost, as in I have despaired of her ever coming back.
Much less commonly, despair can be used as a noun referring to someone or something that causes despair, as in He is the despair of the nation.
The word despairing can be used as an adjective to describe people who are experiencing despair or things that involve despair, as in a despairing look.
Example: He was filled with despair at the sight of the scoreboard, which showed an insurmountable lead with only minutes left.
Where does despair come from?
The first records of the word despair come from around 1300. It comes from the Latin verb dēspērāre, meaning “to be without hope” (the adjective desperate is based on the same root). Remember: at the heart of despair, there is hope—its ultimate root is the Latin root spēs, meaning “hope.”
You know the moment in the story when the hero loses all hope? In that moment, they are in despair. Despair is often seen as the lowest point, and it’s often used in the phrase the depths of despair—the rock bottom of hopelessness. Despair usually comes when it looks like there is no way out of what seems like a hopeless situation, or when it seems like there is no longer a way to win, succeed, or overcome evil. And yet, in many cases, hope springs eternal.
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What are some other forms related to despair?
- despairing (continuous tense verb, adjective)
- despairer (noun)
- self-despair (noun)
What are some synonyms for despair?
What are some words that share a root or word element with despair?
What are some words that often get used in discussing despair?
How is despair used in real life?
Despair is commonly used as both a verb and a noun. It’s usually used in the context of serious situations, such as the death of a loved one or some other painful loss.
“My child, do not despair. Do you think we would have brought you here if there were no hope? We are asking you to do a difficult thing, but we are confident that you can do it."
A Wrinkle in Time pic.twitter.com/pZvw5e6r3h
— Madeleine L'Engle (@MadeleineLEngle) November 1, 2020
People are worried, and scared, and hurting.
You are not alone.
You have friends, even friends you haven’t met yet.
Please do not despair. You are the beating heart of America.
As long as you strive, and persist, we can win together.
Stay strong. Love always wins. pic.twitter.com/dyS0xrsE7B
— Mela Storm #Resistance! NO SURRENDER (@StormMela) October 31, 2020
I watched Frozen without my two year old this morning. Despair reveals itself in many forms.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) November 9, 2016
Try using despair!
Which of the following words is a synonym of despair?
D. all of the above
Example sentences from the Web for despair
The concertina wire marking the edge of his homeland triggers Vanishvili’s border cells to fire every time he sees it, and in turn, that firing may trigger the despair associated with that place.
In the first movement of his Fifth Symphony, Beethoven set up a battle between hope and despair.Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is a lesson in finding hope in adversity|Charlie Harding|September 11, 2020|Vox
It’s my job, I’ve begun to think, to make sure that people in this “climate generation” don’t get swallowed up in an ocean of despair.Generation Z is ‘traumatized’ by climate change—and they’re the key to fighting it|matthewheimer|August 19, 2020|Fortune
This discrepancy can create a feeling of despair when it comes to online reputation management, but this only means that you need to become more proactive about getting reviews from your customers.Online reputation management: Seven steps to success|Aleh Barysevich|June 3, 2020|Search Engine Watch
America enters the final months of the 2020 campaign in a state of despair and disrepair.
“Light trumps darkness, hope beats despair, grace wins over sin, love defeats hate, life conquers death,” the cardinal said.'Please Don't Die!': The Frantic Battle to Save Murdered Cops|Michael Daly|December 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Three months of despair were ignited in suburban Missouri when officer Darren Wilson was told he would walk free.
It may be nothing other than anger and despair, at this point.Ferguson Protesters Harass Black Police, Call for Darren Wilson’s Death|Justin Glawe|November 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I highly doubt that anyone not already in a state of despair would look to war as an antidote to Godlessness.
Future urbanization does not need to pose a choice between rural hopelessness and urban despair.
Davy read this over two or three times, in the greatest perplexity, and then gave it up in despair.Davy and The Goblin|Charles E. Carryl
Prud'hon, in humiliation and despair, lived in a solitude almost complete.Women in the fine arts, from the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D.|Clara Erskine Clement
The falling dew, and the howling wind raised him not from that bed of lonely despair.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter
But the '34 port was so good that he revoked twice, to the indignation and despair of his unhappy brother and partner.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
As they got lower and lower down the hill, her wretchedness and disquiet became acute, to the point of a wild despair.Hilda Lessways|Arnold Bennett