Definition of despond in English:



[NO OBJECT]archaic
  • Become dejected and lose confidence.

    ‘I thought it right not to let my young lady despond’
    • ‘Aleila looked at the desponding bandit, and even though he had brought this misery on himself, she couldn't help but feel sad for him.’
    • ‘A lot of us over here get desponded about this place sometimes.’
    • ‘These… these are things that you needn't despond over at your age.’
    • ‘Did perhaps their hearts despond, because lonesomeness had swallowed me like a whale?’
    • ‘The morning of June 8th, he rose late because ‘I was desponding, owing to a little difference between my wife and me.’’
    be despondent, lose heart, give up hope, become dispirited, become dejected
    View synonyms


mass noun
  • A state of unhappiness and low spirits.

    • ‘And she had affected so many people so deeply, that her loss on the negative side took them much deeper into grief and despond, I think, than anybody had ever experienced.’
    • ‘Business confidence is the most intangible, but vital, of factors, as anyone who watched the country drag itself out of the despond of the 1980s can testify.’
    • ‘Europeans, on the other hand, are in a despond of high unemployment and economic sclerosis.’
    • ‘Against that has to be weighed the tired limbs of an unusually arduous season and the traditional role of the eternal unfulfilled that may once again drag them down into a familiar despond.’
    • ‘That is making it nearly impossible to craft monetary policy that is both hawkish on inflation, and doesn't throw huge economies deeper into the slough of economic despond.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin despondere ‘give up, abandon’, from de- ‘away’ + spondere ‘to promise’. The word was originally used as a noun in Slough of Despond.