• synonyms


or de·spond·ence

[dih-spon-duh n-see or dih-spon-duh ns]
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  1. state of being despondent; depression of spirits from loss of courage or hope; dejection.
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Origin of despondency

First recorded in 1645–55; despond + -ency
Related formspre·de·spond·en·cy, noun


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melancholy, gloom.

Synonym study

See despair.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for despondence

Historical Examples

  • I smiled at the despondence in her tone as I extinguished the kerosene lamp-light.

    Some Everyday Folk and Dawn

    Miles Franklin

  • Gloom, silence, and despondence seemed every where to prevail.

    The Eve of All-Hallows, v. 2 of 3

    Matthew Weld Hartstonge

  • To stupify us into despondence, that destruction may certainly seize us?

  • Out of this mood of despondence I had to lift myself by an act of will.

    Under the Prophet in Utah

    Frank J. Cannon and Harvey J. O'Higgins

  • Of these there was no trace in her eyes, only apathy, weariness, despondence.


    R. D. Blackmore

Word Origin and History for despondence


1670s, from Latin despondere "to give up, lose, lose heart, resign, to promise in marriage" (especially in phrase animam despondere, literally "give up one's soul"), from the sense of a promise to give something away, from de- "away" (see de-) + spondere "to promise" (see spondee). A condition more severe than despair.

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1650s; see despondence + -cy.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper