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  • Adj.




As Anna read aloud from a serious book of verse to her aunt, her expression remained sad and despondent. Anna was stuck reading to her moody old relative for hours while her sisters went on a picnic outdoors—being left behind made Anna feel gloomy and despondent. In her unhappy despair and despondency, Anna read more and more slowly until her voice broke and miserable tears streamed down her face.

Quiz: What does it mean to be despondent?

  • To be in very low spirits.
  • To be very bored by a task that seems neverending.
  • To be very angry because you have to do something that you don’t want to do.

Memory Hook

Sent to a Deep Pond She felt so despondent when her beloved died that she felt that her entire mind was sent into a deep pond of despair from which it seemingly would never return.


  • Pat Flounders held a memorial for her husband last week in New York, which was attended by friends and former co-workers, but she remained despondent. —USA Today
  • 'Baseball was all we had left,' says JosĂ© Manuel Benitez, a despondent fan staring up at the locked stadium in the center of the city. —The Christian Science Monitor
  • An acquaintance of ours, after 5 plus years in the navy and a little more than a year left, became so despondent that he was willing to do almost anything to get out of the Navy. —Newsvine
  • If the peer support officer senses an officer is so despondent as to commit suicide, the current strategy is to question the person forthrightly. —BNET

Word Ingredients

de- down, off, from
spond pledge, promise
-ent being in a state or condition

When you break “from a pledge or promise” you have made to yourself, you can become despondent, that is, “discouraged” or “depressed”; in a like vein, you can also become “depressed” if someone breaks “from a pledge or promise” to you.

Word Theater

Blue Peter Marvin is one despondent robot.

Word Constellation


Word Variants

despondency n depression; discouragement