Definition of despair in English:

despair

noun

  • The complete loss or absence of hope.

    ‘driven to despair, he throws himself under a train’
    ‘in despair, I hit the bottle’
    • ‘The disruption caused to the hall, added to the cost of replacing the windows has left local people in despair.’
    • ‘In her wake, the chaos of despair is overwhelming.’
    • ‘On the screen the girl turned, despair etched in the taut lines of her scream.’
    • ‘Jocelyn fought back tears; she could not stand to see such despair filling his eyes.’
    • ‘Hurt mixed with confusion and a hint of despair filled those eyes.’
    • ‘He lived for another 23 years but many of those were spent in despair and disappointment.’
    • ‘The thought brought me to deep despair and the future looked bleak indeed.’
    • ‘Darren caught the two of us looking over and shook her head in mock despair.’
    • ‘The despair in her eyes made her seem older than she actually was.’
    • ‘Finally, never leave the examination hall in despair, however hopeless things may seem.’
    • ‘Admittedly, these flights each followed bouts of suicidal despair.’
    • ‘She also saw Hazel standing there, worry and despair on her face.’
    • ‘Her husband leaned on the doorframe and shook his head in mock despair.’
    • ‘A feeling of total despair washes over me.’
    • ‘As if in pain, as if in despair, everyone felt the sadness and everyone felt fear as well.’
    • ‘Their lack of determination is thought to be something like the despair felt by human sufferers of depression.’
    • ‘A wave of despair washed over him, taking away all of his heated frustration.’
    • ‘They all had deep despair etched on their faces.’
    • ‘All her efforts had been fruitless, but there was no despair on her face.’
    • ‘He says every morning he begins his work with hope, and every evening he ends in despair.’
    hopelessness, desperation, distress, anguish, pain, unhappiness
    dejection, depression, despondency, disconsolateness, gloom, melancholy, melancholia, misery, wretchedness
    disheartenment, discouragement, resignedness, forlornness, defeatism, pessimism
    View synonyms

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Lose or be without hope.

    ‘we should not despair’
    ‘he was beginning to despair of ever knowing’
    • ‘Others were simply despairing, sighing that it had lost its magic, that it had sold its soul to charter flights and overdevelopment.’
    • ‘Farmers in Gambia are despairing as a shortage of rain is causing new seedlings to wilt and die off.’
    • ‘Meanwhile I continue to despair for the future of this city.’
    • ‘Always outgoing and generous, he sometimes despaired of the media.’
    • ‘Don't despair over one lost pup for there are many more.’
    • ‘She despaired at the thought of finding the several thousand dollars per year to pay for fees.’
    • ‘Your impossible task leaves you feeling frustrated, angry and despairing.’
    • ‘That delicious uncertainty has been replaced by despairing, hopeless inevitability.’
    • ‘We despair for the future of the world.’
    • ‘The public is just going to give in to despair at their lack of options.’
    • ‘No one seemed angry, or happy, or despairing; you just sensed that this was what we had to do.’
    • ‘Where once she was smug and funny about her career and marriage, now she is feisty and despairing.’
    • ‘And now, here we are, a couple of days from the next election and like most people I know, I'm despairing.’
    • ‘It means he has despaired of persuading anybody.’
    • ‘Some are hopeful, some are despairing and some are poignant.’
    • ‘I despair for the future of international cultural cooperation.’
    • ‘So we can remain stuck there, despairing and hopeless, or we can live into a different reality.’
    • ‘Very often we were chased by an irate farmer, but we never despaired and always tried again, somewhere else.’
    • ‘He was far too young to die and I despaired that I was his only hope.’
    • ‘Many doctors are despairing that this could be too long for some patients.’
    hopeless, desperate, anguished, distressed, broken-hearted, heartbroken, grief-stricken, inconsolable, sorrowing, suicidal, in despair
    dejected, depressed, despondent, disconsolate, gloomy, melancholy, miserable, wretched, desolate, forlorn
    disheartened, discouraged, demoralized, devastated, downcast, resigned, defeatist, pessimistic
    dolorous
    lose hope, give up hope, abandon hope, give up, lose heart, be discouraged, be despondent, be demoralized, resign oneself, throw in the sponge, throw in the towel, quit, surrender
    be pessimistic, look on the black side
    despond
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • be the despair of

    • Be the cause of a feeling of hopelessness in (someone else)

      ‘my handwriting was the despair of my teachers’
      • ‘This passive resistance to change was the despair of the improving landowner, who tended to relapse into apathy after a few years of vain effort.’
      • ‘A sprawl of potatoes at the center of the picture is the despair of a family of seven and a worried dog as a pluming rain cloud approaches from distant hills.’
      • ‘Men's fashions from the late nineteenth century showed a kind of egalitarianism, though their conservatism was the despair of retailers.’
      • ‘He is the despair of his family, particularly his father.’
      • ‘The voice is the despair of typists and stenographers: there seems nothing to cling to, no pauses, no paragraphing, no full stops.’
      • ‘It becomes in a way the despair of philosophers, just like it was the despair of Proust's publishers.’
      • ‘After a few games he was the despair of every British dad on the touchline.’
      • ‘Bottom of her class and constantly in trouble, she is the despair of her teachers and her wealthy, successful parents.’
      • ‘They proved adept at using them and maintaining them in conditions which would have been the despair of others, but they were not curious about them beyond the knowledge required to make them work.’
      • ‘There is a stubborn devotion in most congregations to their local interests and mission, which has been the despair of all enthusiasts for world issues.’
      be the bane of, be the scourge of, be a burden on, be a trial to, be a thorn in the flesh of, be a thorn in the side of, be a bother to, be the ruin of, be the death of
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: the noun via Anglo-Norman French from Old French desespeir; the verb from Old French desperer, from Latin desperare, from de- down from + sperare to hope.

Pronunciation:

despair

/dəˈsper/