Definition of desolation in English:



  • 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.’
    • ‘And in the utter desolation of the desert, Akhenaten declares his unfettered love.’
    • ‘The trek from Pyongyang, across some 10,000 kilometers of Siberian desolation, took 10 days.’
    • ‘What once had been a city was a desert now, a vast field of emptiness and desolation.’
    • ‘It brought images of desolation and destruction that most people had never seen directly into their living rooms for the first time.’
    • ‘The desolation of the place made me cringe a little.’
    • ‘A few hours later, as smoke continued to pour from the smoldering ruins, survivors surveyed a scene of stunning desolation.’
    • ‘The barren trees were in tune with the sense of desolation all around.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I passed through a scene impressive in its aspect of desolation, and almost a tribute to the destructive power of the chestnut blight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Thus the place of creation becomes the place of desolation and eventual destruction.’
    • ‘Or perhaps they're the impoverished hill farmers that live hard, breadline lives in isolated, public service-free zones of desolation.’
    • ‘To retrieve and hold on to it at all other times - that would be something of worth to salvage from these scenes of desolation.’
    • ‘He could hardly believe his eyes at the trail of destruction and burning and the general desolation of the scene.’
    • ‘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.’
    barrenness, bleakness, starkness, bareness, dismalness, grimness
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    1. 1.1 Anguished misery or loneliness.
      ‘in choked desolation, she watched him leave’
      • ‘Only her eyes betrayed her sorrow and desolation.’
      • ‘A solitary singer tramps through a winter landscape, seeing in the frozen streams and bare trees a reflection of his own loneliness and desolation.’
      • ‘One woman epitomizes grief as utter desolation: the wide stretch of her open, sobbing mouth tells us she will never again know comfort.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It will find those who call to it, bringing desolation and misery.’
      • ‘The incidents that had occurred during the past few days only served to increase her sense of desolation and loneliness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Little is known of his life, but it was clearly troubled, and a sense of melancholy and desolation is characteristic of all his work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In a condition of utter desolation and heartbreak Butterfly bids farewell to her son and takes her life in a dramatically charged climax.’
      • ‘There was the same sadness in his eyes, however, and the same desolation.’
      • ‘The assistance received made the difference between survival and desperation, and the accompanying sentiments provided emotional support at a time of desolation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even at student age I wasn't old enough to appreciate the melancholic desolation which seeps through the cracks of the comedy.’
      • ‘Each month was a roller coaster of emotions: hope and then, when my menses inevitably began, pain, despair and desolation.’
      • ‘The poet voices myriad experiences - dreams and desires, pains and penance, despair and desolation - which are rooted in our times.’
      • ‘Crystal was suddenly filled with misery and desolation.’
      • ‘It was a depiction of legends passed down, legends of despair and desolation.’
      • ‘In fact, there's much a sense of desolation and loneliness permeating the film.’
      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).