Definition of despond in US English:



[no object]archaic
  • Become dejected and lose confidence.

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


  • A state of unhappiness and low spirits.

    • ‘Europeans, on the other hand, are in a despond of high unemployment and economic sclerosis.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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.