Definition of nadir in English:



  • 1The lowest or most unsuccessful point in a situation.

    ‘asking that question was the nadir of my career’
    • ‘He insisted that an international nadir had been reached, and that performances must improve immediately.’
    • ‘But just as I had reached the nadir of my despair, I caught a glimpse of a picture up on my wall.’
    • ‘It's the absolute nadir of reality tv, and I am addicted.’
    • ‘Finally you reach the nadir: the flat-pack warehouse, where you struggle alone to get massive boxes off the shelves and stack them on a trolley that goes careening off if you so much as brush against it.’
    • ‘The power of negative learning is that function of an individual being forced to change and learn by reaching a nadir of despair.’
    • ‘It reached a pathetic nadir in the quarter-finals of the 2003 World Cup in Melbourne, when South Africa played New Zealand.’
    • ‘I think our dual roles reached a nadir one morning when she watched me get out of the bath.’
    • ‘The Aussie form touched the nadir against the lowly Indians who almost held them for a draw, which would have denied Australia a place in the final.’
    • ‘The Welsh are now something close to a rabble, reaching a nadir a week ago with a record 50-10 defeat against a disinterested England, who were firing on a cylinder and a half.’
    • ‘Getting out of that situation was the absolute nadir of my barefaced lying career.’
    • ‘The crowning nadir was when the professional photographers wrote to me to say that the particular film they used for my ‘official’ photos had been over-exposed and there were no photos.’
    • ‘The situation reached its nadir in March after he hurt his shoulder moving luggage.’
    • ‘We reached a nadir in Christmas 1954, which we spent with no gas, electricity or running water in two converted railway wagons on the snow-covered cliffs of Hornsea, on the East Yorkshire coast.’
    • ‘He had in fact returned from the nadir of alcoholism and addiction.’
    • ‘Things reached a nadir when his management team (from whom he has subsequently split) sent him to hospital for a psychiatric assessment.’
    • ‘You know you've reached a new nadir in cable news when a station invites actors who play investigators on telly to comment on the sniper's tactics.’
    • ‘This night was historic in that there are certain moments in a critic's life when one sinks to a spectacular low, a new nadir.’
    • ‘Once, the prince of misery's career reached such a dramatic nadir one scathing reviewer branded him a ‘boring old drone’.’
    • ‘The party had made little headway since the nadir of 2002.’
    • ‘The performance in Atlanta, when the 304-strong squad won just one gold medal and 15 in total, was a nadir for British sport.’
    the lowest point, the all-time low, the lowest level, low-water mark, the bottom, as low as one can get, rock-bottom, the depths
    the pits
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  • 2Astronomy
    The point on the celestial sphere directly below an observer.

    The opposite of zenith
    • ‘If a planet culminates, sets or is on the nadir at the same time that a star occupies one of the sacred earth-generated angles, then that star walks with that planet.’


Late Middle English (in nadir): via French from Arabic naẓīr (as-samt) opposite (to the zenith).