Definition of desolation in English:



mass noun
  • 1A state of complete emptiness or destruction.

    ‘the stony desolation of the desert’
    • ‘It is a scene of utter desolation caused by the great famine of 1770.’
    • ‘A visitor in 1906 wrote of the desolation of the scene and the damage done to this beautiful area by the miners, but now the regrowth of kamahi has covered most of the relics of the mining.’
    • ‘What once had been a city was a desert now, a vast field of emptiness and desolation.’
    • ‘The trek from Pyongyang, across some 10,000 kilometers of Siberian desolation, took 10 days.’
    • ‘The desolation of the place made me cringe a little.’
    • ‘I passed through a scene impressive in its aspect of desolation, and almost a tribute to the destructive power of the chestnut blight.’
    • ‘All around them desolation and destruction saturated the crumbled and falling buildings on each side of the street.’
    • ‘They are grief stricken by the desolation of the land around them.’
    • ‘The barren trees were in tune with the sense of desolation all around.’
    • ‘He could hardly believe his eyes at the trail of destruction and burning and the general desolation of the scene.’
    • ‘It brought images of desolation and destruction that most people had never seen directly into their living rooms for the first time.’
    • ‘To retrieve and hold on to it at all other times - that would be something of worth to salvage from these scenes of desolation.’
    • ‘Thus the place of creation becomes the place of desolation and eventual destruction.’
    • ‘The strips of green herbage and forest-land, which have here and there escaped the burning lavas, serve, by contrast, to heighten the desolation of the scene.’
    • ‘And in the utter desolation of the desert, Akhenaten declares his unfettered love.’
    • ‘Or perhaps they're the impoverished hill farmers that live hard, breadline lives in isolated, public service-free zones of desolation.’
    • ‘A few hours later, as smoke continued to pour from the smoldering ruins, survivors surveyed a scene of stunning desolation.’
    barrenness, bleakness, starkness, bareness, dismalness, grimness
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  • 2Great unhappiness or loneliness.

    ‘in choked desolation, she watched him leave’
    • ‘In fact, there's much a sense of desolation and loneliness permeating the film.’
    • ‘One woman epitomizes grief as utter desolation: the wide stretch of her open, sobbing mouth tells us she will never again know comfort.’
    • ‘Little is known of his life, but it was clearly troubled, and a sense of melancholy and desolation is characteristic of all his work.’
    • ‘A solitary singer tramps through a winter landscape, seeing in the frozen streams and bare trees a reflection of his own loneliness and desolation.’
    • ‘The incidents that had occurred during the past few days only served to increase her sense of desolation and loneliness.’
    • ‘In a condition of utter desolation and heartbreak Butterfly bids farewell to her son and takes her life in a dramatically charged climax.’
    • ‘It is all about desolation, loss of hope and an overwhelming grief where there seems to be no hope, ever again, at the end of the tunnel.’
    • ‘It filled me with an intense sadness, a peculiar desolation that was only partially pacified when the last note died away and Rob embraced me, kissing my forehead.’
    • ‘There was the same sadness in his eyes, however, and the same desolation.’
    • ‘Even at student age I wasn't old enough to appreciate the melancholic desolation which seeps through the cracks of the comedy.’
    • ‘The fact that there is fear, grief and desolation in the world is something he understands, but even this only in so far as these are vague, general feelings, just grazing the surface.’
    • ‘Despite the sunny sounds of some of the music, the lyrics are mostly dark, addressing suicide, terrorism, depression, and desolation.’
    • ‘The assistance received made the difference between survival and desperation, and the accompanying sentiments provided emotional support at a time of desolation.’
    • ‘It will find those who call to it, bringing desolation and misery.’
    • ‘Only her eyes betrayed her sorrow and desolation.’
    • ‘The poet voices myriad experiences - dreams and desires, pains and penance, despair and desolation - which are rooted in our times.’
    • ‘Those songs are so full of life and spirit here, it's impossible not to be swept up in their grandeur and occasional sadness and desolation.’
    • ‘Each month was a roller coaster of emotions: hope and then, when my menses inevitably began, pain, despair and desolation.’
    • ‘It was a depiction of legends passed down, legends of despair and desolation.’
    • ‘Crystal was suddenly filled with misery and desolation.’
    misery, sadness, unhappiness, melancholy, gloom, gloominess, glumness, despondency, sorrow, depression, grief, mournfulness, woe
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Late Middle English: from late Latin desolatio(n-), from Latin desolare ‘to abandon’ (see desolate).