Definition of depression in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Feelings of severe despondency and dejection:

    ‘self-doubt creeps in and that swiftly turns to depression’
    • ‘Depression, dullness, apathy - these were the beasts I could no longer afford to feed.’
    • ‘Regular readers will know I was deep in the throes of depression, both seasonal and related to other sources.’
    • ‘It felt unsettling because we as the audience are accustomed to sadness, depression and irrational outbursts in typical movies that deal with death.’
    • ‘The mood among local farmers is depression, despair and devastation, and there is no end in sight.’
    • ‘We're staying several steps ahead of gloom, despair, deep dark depression, and excessive misery.’
    • ‘Megan drove back to her place feeling exhaustion and depression settle in.’
    • ‘Everybody gets feelings of sadness or depression and most of these are short-lived and tolerable.’
    • ‘I'm angry because I feel like this generation is being ravished by depression and despair.’
    • ‘A pretty astounding year for debut albums too, despite the doom and gloom and depression that allegedly is swamping the music industry.’
    • ‘The general national mood can only be described as one of prolonged depression.’
    • ‘Grace found herself being dragged into depression by her own thoughts.’
    • ‘He did not kiss the old woman's hand; for, in his fatigue and depression, the necessity to pretend fell away.’
    • ‘When I came home from Wales I was struck by horrible feelings of doom, depression, general low spirits and a sense of self-loathing.’
    • ‘Moodiness contributes to sadness and depression, unpredictable mood swings and fidgeting, especially among the opposite sex.’
    • ‘Tiredness might have played its part, but the sense of dejection and depression emanating from the studio clouded the whole broadcast.’
    • ‘We are too prone to judge ourselves by our moments of despondency and depression.’
    • ‘Feelings of depression and despair are common.’
    • ‘Don't allow yourself the luxury of falling into depression and cynicism and despair.’
    • ‘We have unprecedented depression and pessimism.’
    • ‘Though a settler-farmer not dependent entirely on farm income for a living, even I am not able to escape this feeling of gloom and depression.’
    melancholy, misery, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, woe, gloom, gloominess, dejection, downheartedness, despondency, dispiritedness, low spirits, heavy-heartedness, moroseness, discouragement, despair, desolation, dolefulness, moodiness, pessimism, hopelessness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Psychiatry A mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep:
      ‘she was referred by a psychiatrist treating her for depression’
      • ‘Anne visited her GP who diagnosed severe depression.’
      • ‘People of all ages suffer from depression.’
      • ‘Seeing a counselor for depression is not something to be ashamed of any more than seeing a physician for a physical ailment.’
      • ‘Solutions for clinical depression are available.’
      • ‘A small number of people suffer from depression so severe that they may need to be admitted to hospital.’
      • ‘Clinical depression is generally thought to have a direct link to brain chemistry.’
      • ‘He had been battling depression for some time.’
      • ‘Long-term illnesses, such as diabetes, Parkinsons, or cancer, also may lead to depression.’
      • ‘Scientists have isolated a gene that appears to lead to a higher risk for depression.’
      • ‘Jo took him to a psychologist who prescribed medication for depression.’
  • 2A long and severe recession in an economy or market:

    ‘the depression in the housing market’
    • ‘After a prolonged agricultural depression lifted in the 1890s, the worst of rural poverty was finally dispelled.’
    • ‘They were the first to deal with the issue in a systematic way and to apply their conclusions to the problem of economic depressions.’
    • ‘Yet, the final outcome - an economic depression - would have been exactly the same.’
    • ‘It also generates the periodic crises characteristic of capitalism - what we call recessions and depressions.’
    • ‘Consistent with the above foundation of basic principle, the advocates of laissez-faire capitalism argue that depressions are not the result of anything inherent in the economic system.’
    • ‘It has lasted for a long time, through depressions, recessions, slumps, civil wars and world wars.’
    • ‘Running big federal deficits in hard economic times is one of those ‘automatic stabilizers’ that help keep recessions from turning into depressions.’
    • ‘Just as the mass extinctions were associated with climatic shifts, depressions and recessions often reflect changing economic conditions.’
    • ‘Only in 1930-31 did it become apparent that the world was in the throes of a prolonged and deep depression.’
    • ‘They have developed a close relationship between stock market crashes and the economic recessions and depressions that follow them.’
    • ‘They tolerated the gyrations of the business cycle more willingly, including dozens of recessions and several deep economic depressions.’
    • ‘According to him, the original estimate did take into account periodic recessions and depressions in the stock market.’
    • ‘For example, he considers economic depressions to be the intensification of the competitive process.’
    • ‘Most of the worst recessions and depressions occur the year following an election.’
    • ‘The prolonged depression of the 1880s increased the pressure for change.’
    • ‘Despite the severity of the depression in the international economy, standards of living did not show correspondingly steep falls.’
    • ‘These are the people responsible for recessions and depressions.’
    • ‘He also argued that economic depressions stimulated goldmining by lowering costs and releasing labour for prospecting.’
    • ‘The severe and prolonged depression of the 1890's resulted in the decline of the slate industry and only a few men were employed.’
    • ‘This turned what might have been a short recession into the greatest depression in the nation's history.’
    recession, slump, decline, downturn, slowdown, standstill
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 The financial and industrial slump of 1929 and subsequent years.
  • 3[mass noun] The action of lowering something or pressing something down:

    ‘depression of the plunger delivers two units of insulin’
    • ‘The depression of the clutch pedal lets the force from the pressure plate's spring to release and allow the discs to move and rotate.’
    • ‘The control signal or input for brake release may therefore be generated or relate to accelerator depression, clutch engagement or gear selection.’
    • ‘Complete depression of the pedal removes all output torque, whilst gradual release of the pedal leads to progressive torque introduction.’
    • ‘Slight depression of the clutch stops the tractor's forward motion, while full depression stops the PTO action.’
    • ‘Emergency braking techniques are taught at an early stage of driver training and require rapid and forceful depression of the brake pedal and then the clutch pedal.’
    1. 3.1[count noun] A sunken place or hollow on a surface:
      ‘the original shallow depressions were slowly converted to creeks’
      • ‘The images relayed from the probe were not much more exciting - some low hills and surface depressions.’
      • ‘A lush habitat appears where surface water accumulates in shallow depressions to form seasonal or fairly permanent ponds.’
      • ‘The proximal half of the ventral surface forms a long depression.’
      • ‘On the western end of the beach is a large, grassy mound with a shallow depression in the top. This is the site of a prehistoric fortification, or broch.’
      • ‘Magnetic vortices moving back and forth inside depressions on a superconducting surface could serve as single-particle bits for a nanoscale computer.’
      • ‘Implants are generally not attached to the underlying structures because they are made with depressions on the under surface to fit over the anatomic areas on which they are inserted.’
      • ‘Stigmaeopsis mites construct extremely dense oval woven roofs over depressions on the lower surfaces of host leaves.’
      • ‘Multiple depressions dotted the surface of the sandy riverbank, as if it had taken on the look of the surface of a golf ball.’
      • ‘It over looked some sort of depression in the land.’
      • ‘Using the back of a spoon, make a shallow depression in the centre, and build up the sides as high as you can.’
      • ‘Specially engineered depressions in the surface of the inner skin eliminate the need for a separate welded-on reinforcement to increase panel rigidity.’
      • ‘The stone includes a depression on its concave surface where the practitioner's finger was inserted in order to assist in applying force.’
      • ‘It is usually sunken into a depression so that the rim is level with the ground.’
      • ‘The original site was a depression adjoining the river, which automatically became a swamp frequented by water birds in the wet times.’
      • ‘The presence of shallow depressions in the ground surface allows time for water to percolate into the soil and reduces the volume and speed of flow across the slope.’
      • ‘Reduced infiltration will cause water ponding for longer periods following rainfall on a field with surface depressions.’
      • ‘It would have blended seamlessly into the wall if it weren't for the circular depressions embedded on its surface.’
      • ‘Nests are usually shallow depressions in a muddy or sandy bottom in which the eggs are deposited.’
      • ‘These tiny flowers offer nectar in a shallow median depression on the lip surface.’
      • ‘In the idling zone the surface includes a plurality of shallow depressions disposed in an annular zone.’
      hollow, indentation, dent, dint, cavity, concavity, dip, pit, hole, pothole, sink, sinkhole, excavation, trough, crater
      View synonyms
  • 4Meteorology
    A region of lower atmospheric pressure, especially a cyclonic weather system:

    ‘hurricanes start off as loose regions of bad weather known as tropical depressions’
    • ‘Rainfall in the savannah region usually arrives between November and April in heavy bursts from monsoonal depressions or tropical cyclones.’
    • ‘In middle latitudes, belts of west-travelling cyclones or depressions bring rain to areas of hundreds of square kilometres.’
    • ‘The most significant features of the wet season are thunderstorms, tropical cyclones and rain depressions.’
    • ‘Frontal systems associated with depressions traveling eastwards across the ocean have a significant influence on the weather in southern South Australia during this season.’
    • ‘Cyclonic weather with a depression centred over the UK can cause unsettled conditions in both winter and summer.’
  • 5Geography Astronomy
    The angular distance of an object below the horizon or a horizontal plane.

    • ‘Angular depressions at the base of siltstone laminae represent casts of halite that was dissolved by lower-salinity waters that introduced silt.’
    • ‘Thus various stages of twilight are defined in terms of the solar depression angle, in degrees.’
    • ‘After sunset, as the depression of the sun increases the sky gets darker and darker until no scattered light reaches the observer.’


Late Middle English: from Latin depressio(n-), from deprimere press down (see depress).