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[dih-presh-uh n] /dɪˈprɛʃ ən/
the act of depressing.
the state of being depressed.
a depressed or sunken place or part; an area lower than the surrounding surface.
sadness; gloom; dejection.
Psychiatry. a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.
dullness or inactivity, as of trade.
Economics. a period during which business, employment, and stock-market values decline severely or remain at a very low level of activity.
the Depression, Great Depression.
Pathology. a low state of vital powers or functional activity.
Astronomy. the angular distance of a celestial body below the horizon; negative altitude.
Surveying. the angle between the line from an observer or instrument to an object below either of them and a horizontal line.
Physical Geography. an area completely or mostly surrounded by higher land, ordinarily having interior drainage and not conforming to the valley of a single stream.
Meteorology. an area of low atmospheric pressure.
1350-1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin dēpressiōn- (stem of dēpressiō), Late Latin: a pressing down, equivalent to Latin dēpress(us) (see depress) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
antidepression, adjective, noun
minidepression, noun
nondepression, noun
postdepression, adjective
predepression, noun, adjective
4. discouragement, despondency. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for depression
  • It was a stormy morning which served to add gloom and depression to their spirits.
  • The current global economic and financial meltdown may yet become something worse: a protracted global depression.
  • And whereas many measures of depression and sadness have been defined, a coherent description of happiness remains elusive.
  • Increasing costs of production and commerce in a time of economic near-depression is insane.
  • The depression of 1929 is the wrong model for the current economic crisis .
  • As the depression moves across the ocean, its energy grows.
  • She notes that this newly discovered nexus could pave the way for new treatments for depression in teen girls.
  • Dig a shallow depression, line it with pebbles, and keep the soil moist.
  • But we need to distinguish between real depression and just being bummed out.
  • The anterior and posterior ends of the centrum have a deep ovoid central depression and very rounded edges.
British Dictionary definitions for depression


the act of depressing or state of being depressed
a depressed or sunken place or area
a mental disorder characterized by extreme gloom, feelings of inadequacy, and inability to concentrate
(pathol) an abnormal lowering of the rate of any physiological activity or function, such as respiration
an economic condition characterized by substantial and protracted unemployment, low output and investment, etc; slump
(meteorol) Also called cyclone, low. a large body of rotating and rising air below normal atmospheric pressure, which often brings rain
(esp in surveying and astronomy) the angular distance of an object, celestial body, etc, below the horizontal plane through the point of observation Compare elevation (sense 11)


the Depression, the worldwide economic depression of the early 1930s, when there was mass unemployment Also known as the Great Depression, the Slump
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for depression

late 14c. as a term in astronomy, from Old French depression (14c.) or directly from Latin depressionem (nominative depressio), noun of action from past participle stem of deprimere "to press down, depress" (see depress).

Attested from 1650s in the literal sense; meaning "dejection, depression of spirits" is from early 15c. (as a clinical term in psychology, from 1905); meteorological sense is from 1881 (in reference to barometric pressure); meaning "a lowering or reduction in economic activity" was in use by 1826; given a specific application (with capital D-) by 1934 to the one that began worldwide in 1929. For "melancholy, depression" an Old English word was grevoushede.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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depression in Medicine

depression de·pres·sion (dĭ-prěsh'ən)

  1. The act of depressing or the state of being depressed.

  2. A reduction in physiological vigor or activity.

  3. A lowering in amount, degree, or position.

  4. An inward displacement of a body part.

  5. A hollow or sunken area.

  6. The condition of feeling sad or despondent.

  7. A psychotic or neurotic condition characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, and feelings of extreme sadness, dejection, and hopelessness.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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depression in Science
  1. A geographic area, such as a sinkhole or basin, that is lower than its surroundings.

  2. A mood disorder characterized by an inability to experience pleasure, difficulty in concentrating, disturbance of sleep and appetite, and feelings of sadness, guilt, and helplessness.

  3. A reduction in the activity of a physiological process, such as respiration.

  4. A region of low atmospheric pressure. Low pressure systems result in precipitation, ranging from mild to severe in intensity. See also cyclone.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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depression in Culture

depression definition

A period of drastic decline in the national economy, characterized by decreasing business activity, falling prices, and unemployment. The best known of such periods is the Great Depression, which occurred in the 1930s.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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