[ dohl-druhmz, dol-, dawl- ]
See synonyms for doldrums on
noun(used with a plural verb)
  1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art: August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises.

  2. the doldrums,

    • 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.

    • the weather prevailing in this area.

  1. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.

Origin of doldrums

First recorded in 1795–1805; obsolete dold stupid (see dolt) + -rum(s) (plural) noun suffix (see tantrum)

Other words for doldrums

Words Nearby doldrums Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use doldrums in a sentence

  • The campaign will now stagger through the February doldrums.

  • Both got in the doldrums near the Start mark, but taking a chill 'Navahoe' got away with a long lead.

    Yachting Vol. 2 | Various.
  • Oh, well, there was no sense in staying in the doldrums forever.

    Hunters Out of Space | Joseph Everidge Kelleam
  • A low-pressure area of calm, light variable winds near the equator is known to mariners as the doldrums.

    Deserts | A. S. Walker
  • Our vegetables gave out and we drank too much rain water and ate too much fresh fish down in the doldrums.

    Captain Scraggs | Peter B. Kyne
  • In the calm, windless doldrums, he never came up on deck but what the aroma of whisky travelled with him.

    The Viking Blood | Frederick William Wallace

British Dictionary definitions for doldrums


/ (ˈdɒldrəmz) /

nounthe doldrums
  1. a depressed or bored state of mind

  2. a state of inactivity or stagnation

    • a belt of light winds or calms along the equator

    • the weather conditions experienced in this belt, formerly a hazard to sailing vessels

Origin of doldrums

C19: probably from Old English dol dull, 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

Scientific definitions for doldrums


[ dōldrəmz′ ]

  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with doldrums


see in the doldrums.

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