Definition of doldrums in English:


plural noun

  • 1A state or period of stagnation or depression.

    ‘the mortgage market has been in the doldrums for three years’
    • ‘Her escape from the doldrums of her life is the local bijou, where every week a new fantasy plays on the silver screen to whisk her from New Jersey to places she can only dream of.’
    • ‘We're not down in the doldrums like teams usually are when a new manager comes in.’
    • ‘He said: ‘It's another indication the electronics industry is in the doldrums.’’
    • ‘After a long period in the doldrums, the company's share price has begun to respond to the company's strong earnings performance over the past five years.’
    • ‘Shares remained in the doldrums for most of the session, although a jump on Wall Street on its opening in the afternoon saw British stocks leap 56 points into positive territory.’
    • ‘And with employment down and the economy projected to remain in the doldrums for the foreseeable future, it's no good betting that rising ridership will save the system.’
    • ‘The village primary school was in the doldrums after being chastised for ‘serious weaknesses’ in pupil behaviour, which was disrupting lessons, and for the poor quality of teaching.’
    • ‘But while individuals find the lifestyle appealing, government officials and analysts fear the trend spells trouble ahead for an economy already stuck in the doldrums for more than a decade.’
    • ‘‘Engineering has generally been in the doldrums recently, but we are always looking to invest in new machinery and in the workforce, and the staff are behind us in this,’ he said.’
    • ‘Wednesday had arrived as usual, a hill in the middle of the week, equidistant from the doldrums of Monday and the sweet salvation of the Friday that always seemed too far away.’
    • ‘But at the moment, it's very much in the doldrums.’
    • ‘But with savings accounts paying around 4.25% after tax, and the stock market in the doldrums, even this figure is hard to beat without incurring too much risk.’
    • ‘And whether it's the doldrums of the blues or the pits, we've all been there and allowed sorrow to swallow us up, if only temporarily.’
    • ‘And for those who want to stay afloat, or sail out of the doldrums, experienced and effective management will become even more crucial.’
    • ‘The sector was in the doldrums and struggling to cope with the competition.’
    • ‘Mainstream rock is growing back into favour following a period in the doldrums during which the public was wooed by the less genuine sounds of pop.’
    • ‘There is no doubt about the fact that motor sport is picking up again in Thailand, after a period in the doldrums following the economic crash.’
    • ‘Professional soccer - unless one happens to be in the top echelon - are in the doldrums at present, and it becomes increasingly difficult for clubs to balance the books.’
    • ‘If you have a room that's suffering from the doldrums, a bit of tomato - paired with bright yellow, or with white stripes - will be sure add a jolt of energy.’
    • ‘All boom/bust cycles led to prolonged periods when once favoured assets stay in the doldrums for years.’
    inactive, quiet, slow, slack, sluggish, subdued, stagnant, static, inert, flat, dull
    depression, melancholy, gloom, gloominess, glumness, downheartedness, dejection, despondency, dispiritedness, heavy-heartedness, heartache, unhappiness, sadness, misery, woe, dismalness, despair, pessimism, hopelessness
    View synonyms
  • 2An equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds.

    ‘Hurricane Verity had been born in the doldrums’
    • ‘The competitors will sail west to east, through the doldrums, round three capes, and will have to dodge icebergs in the gale-ridden Southern Ocean.’
    • ‘The trade winds from both hemispheres converge towards the doldrums and a zone of low pressure, the equatorial trough, that girdles the earth.’
    • ‘Where this area lies over the oceans, it is called the doldrums.’
    • ‘With conditions ranging from the unpredictable calms of the doldrums to the gale force winds and icebergs of the southern oceans, the Global Challenge is certainly not one for the faint-hearted.’
    • ‘One of the most challenging stretches will be the doldrums, the area around the equator where there may be only light winds for days on end.’
    • ‘They fear their relationship has lost momentum-the wind is gone and they've entered the doldrums.’
    • ‘On the equator there is little wind, mariners called this region the doldrums (after an old English word meaning dull) because they feared being stranded there.’


Late 18th century (as doldrum ‘dull, sluggish person’): perhaps from dull, on the pattern of tantrums.