• WordNet 3.6
    • v despair abandon hope; give up hope; lose heart "Don't despair--help is on the way!"
    • n despair the feeling that everything is wrong and nothing will turn out well "they moaned in despair and dismay","one harsh word would send her into the depths of despair"
    • n despair a state in which all hope is lost or absent "in the depths of despair","they were rescued from despair at the last minute","courage born of desperation"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Despair Loss of hope; utter hopelessness; complete despondency. "We in dark dreams are tossing to and fro,
      Pine with regret, or sicken with despair ."
      "Before he [Bunyan] was ten, his sports were interrupted by fits of remorse and despair ."
    • Despair That which is despaired of. "The mere despair of surgery he cures."
    • v. i Despair To be hopeless; to have no hope; to give up all hope or expectation; -- often with of. "We despaired even of life.""Never despair of God's blessings here."
    • Despair To cause to despair.
    • Despair To give up as beyond hope or expectation; to despair of. "I would not despair the greatest design that could be attempted."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • despair To lose hope; be without hope; give up all hope or expectation: followed by of before an object.
    • despair Synonyms Despair, Despond. See despond.
    • despair To give up hope of; lose confidence in.
    • despair To cause to despair; deprive of hope.
    • n despair Hopelessness; a hopeless state; utter lack of hope or expectation.
    • n despair That which causes hopelessness; that of which there is no hope.
    • n despair Synonyms Despondency, Despair, Desperation. Despondency is a loss of hope sufficient to produce a loss of courage and a disposition to relax or relinquish effort, the despondent person tending to sink into spiritless inaction. Despair means a total loss of hope; despondency does not. Despair naturally destroys courage and stops all effort, but may produce a new kind of courage and fierce activity founded upon the sense that there is nothing worse to be feared. In this despair is akin to desperation, which is an active state and always tends to produce a furious struggle against adverse circumstances, even when the situation is utterly hopeless.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.i Despair de-spār′ to be without hope: to despond
    • n Despair want of hope: utter hopelessness: that which causes despair
    • ***


  • Lord Alfred Tennyson
    “I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair.”
  • David Livingstone
    David Livingstone
    “Nothing earthly will make me give up my work in despair.”
  • A. Alvarez
    A. Alvarez
    “Despair, in short, seeks its own environment as surely as water finds its own level.”
  • Italian Proverb
    Italian Proverb
    “The person who lives by hope will die by despair.”
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
    “Life begins on the other side of despair.”
  • Elie Wiesel
    “Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. despeiren, dispeiren, OF. desperer, fr. L. desperare,; de-, + sperare, to hope; akin to spes, hope, and perh. to spatium, space, E. space, speed,; cf. OF. espeir, hope, F. espoir,. Cf. Prosper Desperate


In literature:

Thus were fortunately captured two whales, both of which had been despaired of.
"Thrilling Narratives of Mutiny, Murder and Piracy" by Anonymous
This drives her to despair.
"The International Magazine, Volume 2, No. 3, February, 1851" by Various
This blow was so sudden that the young man abandoned himself to despair.
"The Son of Monte Christo" by Jules Lermina
The joy of Azgid's life seemed now to have fled, and he was suddenly immersed in deep despair.
"Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers" by Various
It was the calmness of despair.
"The Dodge Club" by James De Mille
She made a pitiful gesture of despair.
"The Explorer" by W. Somerset Maugham
Leon did not know that when he left her in despair, she rose after he had gone to see him in the street.
"Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert
But he could see nothing, and for a few minutes he began to give way to a feeling of despair.
"Hunting the Skipper" by George Manville Fenn
He was not one to yield easily to despair; and yet despair was now upon him.
"The Giraffe Hunters" by Mayne Reid
It was wrung from me by despair.
"The Quadroon" by Mayne Reid

In poetry:

I said unto the wind and rain,
"Regret, and hope despair hath slain."
"Woman’s Portion" by Madison Julius Cawein
Why talk as in despair?
Just God, whose rod I kiss,
Did not make thee so fair
To end thy life at this.
"The Dead Child" by Victor James Daley
The gods have heard my song!
My love's despairing cry
Filled hell with melody,--
And the gods heard my song.
"Eurydice" by Sophie Margaret Hensley
Thou seest how poor a thing am I,
Yet hear, whate'er I be;
Despairing of my will, I cry,
Be God enough to me.
"The Disciple" by George MacDonald
But the world's before me now,
Why should I despair?
I will not spend my days in vain,
I will not linger here!
"Verses" by Anne Bronte
They have to stand about in mud
And cold fit for despair,
But I have made a ruddy pile
From profits on hot air.
"Alf’s Eleventh Bit" by Ezra Pound

In news:

She has truly turned her moments of despair into moments of empowerment, and has the opportunity to share that with others.
And many boats from further south are also attacking the offshore waters so do not despair — simply dress for the occasion and go catch some fine-eating fish .
"It was a battlefield of despair, the place where soldiers went to die in the mud," Cook says.
Grief, despair don't trump gratitude .
Grief , despair don't trump gratitude.
Hoover 's political warfare drove his Cold War counterpart, Allen Dulles, the CIA's chief from 1953 to 1961, to deep despair.
It's unremarkable that Republicans and assorted Obama haters reacted to the Supreme Court ruling on health care yesterday with a combination of despair and spitting anger.
BEDFORD — There is no time for Bedford North Lawrence to wallow in the despair of its 65-45 loss Friday night at Columbus East.
Faith in Jesus Christ 's sacrifice for humanity pulls people out of the pit of despair and sin, and enables them to return eventually into God's presence, the new general president of the all-women LDS Relief Society said Saturday.
FORT WORTH — Playwright Charlayne Woodard pulls hope out of despair in Flight.
As India and Pakistan begin talks on improving relations, the people of disputed Kashmir are torn between hope, anger and despair.
One Source Valley's Fastest Man Giants Despair 1 Mile Run Results.
Edgar, in monologue, decides his maligned state is better than hypocritical flattery, and that hope always follows despair.
A dim wasteland in which two barely discernible figures slowly tangle and roll apart and tangle again in a contest between desire and despair.
Despair Overwhelmed Former South Korean Leader Embroiled in Scandal.

In science:

In the long run G¨odel’s interpretations of incompleteness prevailed: the Incompleteness Theorems neither rejected the notion of formal system (quite the opposite) nor caused despair over the imposed limitations; they just re-affirmed the creative power of human reason.
Incompleteness, Complexity, Randomness and Beyond
Given the plethora of possible statistics, one might despair as to which to use, especially if they give conflicting results.
Information criteria for astrophysical model selection
Those who developed OQT (Heisenberg, Bohr, Born and others) despaired of solving the quantum wave/particle dilemma (required for understanding) and, as a result, developed OQT, not as a theory about quantum systems per se, but rather as a theory about the results of performing measurements on such systems.
Do We Need a Scientific Revolution?
This is not a situation to despair of, because stars were in a similar situation for 20 years (Lawrence 1987).
Tests of a Structure for Quasars
The long-standing nature of this difficulty has driven some physicists to a state of intellectual despair, wherein they conclude that a crisis exists in physics which might be called the crisis of the split brain.
Quantum Gravity in Everyday Life: General Relativity as an Effective Field Theory