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- (There was about him) an air of defeat … as though all the rules he’d learned in life were, one by one, being reversed —Margaret Millar
- Dampened my mood (as automatically) as would the news of an earthquake in Cincinnati or the outbreak of the Third World War —T. Coraghessan Boyle
- Dejection seemed to transfix him, to reach down out of the sky and crash like a spike through his small rigid body —Niven Busch
- Dejection settled over her like a cloud —Louis Bromfield
- Depression crept like a fog into her mind —Ellen Glasgow
- Depression … is like a light turned into a room —only a light of blackness —Rudyard Kipling
- Depressions … like thick cloud covers: not a ray of light gets through —Larry McMurtry
- Despair howled round his inside like a wind —Elizabeth Bowen
- Despair is like forward children, who, when you take away one of their playthings, throw the rest into the fire for madness —Pierre Charron
- Despair, like that of a man carrying through choice a bomb which, at a certain hour each day, may or may not explode —William Faulkner
- Despair passed over him like cold winds and hot winds coming from places he had never visited —Margaret Millar
- Despondency … lurking like a ghoul —Richard Maynard
- Emptied, like a collapsed balloon, all the life gone out of him —Ben Ames Williams
- Feeling of desperation … as if caught by a chain that was slowly winding up —Victor Hugo
- Feel like a picnicker who has forgotten his lunch —Frank O’Hara
- (I’m not feeling very good right now. I) feel like I’ve been sucking on a lot of raw eggs —Dexter Manley, of the Washington Redskins after his team lost important game, quoted in the New York Times, December 8, 1986
- Feels his heart sink as if into a frozen lake —John Rechy
- Felt depression settle on his head like a sick crow —Bernard Malamud
- (He often) felt [suicidal] like a deep sea diver whose hose got cut on an unexpected rock —Diane Wakoski
- Felt like Willie Loman at the end of the road —T. Coraghessan Boyle
- Felt the future narrowing before me like a tunnel —Margaret Drabble
- Forlorn … like Autumn waiting for the snow —John Greenleaf Whittier
- (Her) heart dropped like a purse of coins falling through a ripped pocket —Joyce Reiser Kornblatt
- His despair confronted me like a black beast —Natascha Wodin
- His haughty self was like a robber baron fallen into the hands of rebellious slaves, stooped under a filthy load —Sinclair Lewis
- His heart has withered in him and he has been left with the five senses, like pieces of broken wineglass —Lawrence Durrell
- Hope and confidence … shattered like the pillars of Gaza —W. Somerset Maugham
- Hope removed like a tree —The Holy Bible/Job
- It was like having a part of me amputated —W. P. Kinsella
In the novel, Shoeless Joe, the comparison is a character’s response to being suspended from his baseball team.
- (I was) like the old lion with a thorn in his paw, surrounded by wolves and jackals and facing his snaggle-toothed death in a political jungle —T. Coraghessan Boyle
- Listless and wretched like a condemned man —Erich Maria Remarque
- Live under dust covers like furniture —Michael Frayn
Frayn’s simile vividly portrays the despair of the characters in his adaptation of an untitled Checkhov play, first produced under the title Wild Honey in 1984.
- Looked suddenly disconsolate, like a scarecrow with no crows to scare —Graham Masterton
- Looking forlorn, stricken, like a little brother who, tagging along, is being deserted by the big fellows —Edna Ferber
- Crawl back [after unanticipated defeat at golf] looking like a toad under a harrow —P. G. Wodehouse
- Look like a dog that has lost its tail —John Ray’s Proverbs
- Look like the picture of ill luck —John Ray’s Proverbs
- Miserable, like dead men in a dream —George MacDonald
- Miserable, lonesome as a forgotten child —F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Misery is manifold … as the rainbow; its hues are as various as the hues of that arch —Edgar Allen Poe
- Misery rose from him like a stench —Marge Piercy
- A mood as gypsy-dark as his eyes —Robert Culff
- My life is just an empty road and people walk on me —Tony Ardizzone
- Must live hideously and miserably the rest of his days, like a man doomed to live forever in a state of retching and abominable nausea of heart, brain, bowels, flesh and spirit —Thomas Wolfe
- Put away his hopes as if they were old love letters —Anon
See Also: HOPE
- Relapsed into discouragement, like a votary who has watched too long for a sign from the altar —Edith Wharton
- Saw himself like a sparrow on the bank-top; sitting on the wherewithal for a thousand thousand meals and dropping dead from hunger the first day of winter —Christina Stead
- Seemed like a whipped dog on a leash —Ignazio Silone
- The sense of desolation and of fear became bitterer than death —William Cullen Bryant
See Also: FEAR
- (I have been) so utterly and suicidally morbid that my letters would have read like an excerpt from the Undertakers’ Gazette —Dylan Thomas
The simile is excerpted from a November, 1933, letter to Pamela Hansford Johnson apologizing for the delay in replying to her letter.
- (Foster’s) stomach felt like a load of wet clothes at the bottom of the dryer —Phyllis Naylor
- There’s a state of peace following despair … like the aftermath of an accident —C. J. Koch
- Waves of black depression engulf one from time to time … like a rising tide —Gustave Flaubert
(See also GRIEVING.)
crestfallen Dispirited; lacking in confidence, spirit, or courage; humbled; in a blue funk. In use since the 16th century, this term is said to allude to the crests of fighting cocks which reputedly become rigid and deep-red in color during the height of battle but flaccid and droopy following defeat. This theory regarding the term’s origin is unlikely, however, since the crests of fighting cocks are cut off.
down in the mouth Sad, dejected, disappointed, in low spirits, down in the dumps. This expression, dating from the mid-17th century, derives from the fact that the corners of a person’s mouth are drawn down when he is sad or despondent.
The Roman Orator was down in the mouth; finding himself thus cheated by the money-changer. (Bp. Joseph Hall, Resolutions and Decisions of Diverse Practical Cases of Conscience, 1649)
eat one’s heart out See eat one’s heart, SELF-PITY.
in the doldrums See STAGNATION.
in the dumps In a dull and gloomy state of mind; sad, depressed, joyless, long-faced. No one knows the exact origin of dump, in use since the 16th century. One suggestion is that it derives from the Dutch domp ‘exhalation, haze, mist,’ and that this meaning gave rise to its association with mental haziness. An even less convincing theory is that dumps is an allusion to King Dumops of Egypt, who, after building a pyramid, died of melancholia. Thus, one who suffers from melancholia, like King Dumops, is said to be “in the dumps.” This expression, still current, and in doleful dumps were in use in the 17th century. Down in the dumps is another popular variant.
no joy in Mudville Pervasive sadness or disappointment, especially that accompanying the unexpected defeat of a local sports team. This expression, generally limited to use by sports reporters, is derived from “Casey at the Bat,” a poem which tells of the untimely failure of the hometown baseball hero to save the day:
Oh! somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.
(Ernest Thayer, “Casey at the Bat,” 1888)
off one’s feed See ILL HEALTH.
a peg too low Moody, listless, melancholy. The drinking bouts of medieval England occasionally turned to brawls when one of several men drinking from the same tankard accused another of taking more than his share. This problem was remedied by the legendary St. Dunstan, who suggested that pegs be placed at equal intervals inside the cup to indicate each man’s portion. Apparently, the expression evolved its figurative meaning in allusion to the dismay of one whose remaining portion was de-pressingly small. The phrase usually implies a desire for another go at “the cup that cheers.”
the pits An extraordinarily poor state of mind; the depths of despond; the nadir; the worst of anything. This expression, alluding to an extremely deep shaft or abyss, enjoys widespread slang use in the United States. Columnist Erma Bombeck recently punned on the expression in entitling a collection, If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing In the Pits? (1978).
slough of despond A feeling of intense discouragement, despair, depression, or hopelessness. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), the Slough of Despond was a deep, treacherous bog which had to be crossed in order to reach the Wicket Gate. When Christian, the pilgrim, fell into the Slough, he might have been totally consumed had not his friend Help come to his assistance. Eventually, slough of despond became more figurative, describing the seemingly helpless and hopeless predicament of being enmired in despair.
I remember slumping all [of] a sudden into the slough of despond, and closing my letter in the dumps. (Thomas Twining, Recreations and Studies of a Country Clergyman of the 18th Century, 1776)
touch bottom To reach one’s lowest point; to sink to the depths of despair; to know the worst; to feel that everything has gone wrong and nothing worse can happen. In print at least as early as the mid-19th century, this expression probably derives its figurative use from the nautical use referring to a ship which scrapes its bottom and is temporarily or permanently disabled.
waterworks Tears, crying, the shedding of tears; often to turn on the waterworks; also to turn on the faucet.
Harry could not bear to see Clare cry. “Hold up!” he cried. “This will never do. Hullo! no waterworks here, if you please.” (F. Leslie’s Chatterbox [New York], 1885-86)
By implying that the flow of tears can be turned on and off virtually at will, these phrases place doubt on the sincerity of the tears being shed. This facetious use of the term dates from the 17th century.
|Noun||1.||dejection - a state of melancholy depression |
depression - a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity
|2.||dejection - solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels|
body waste, excrement, excreta, excretory product, excretion - waste matter (as urine or sweat but especially feces) discharged from the body
meconium - thick dark green mucoid material that is the first feces of a newborn child