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desolation

[des-uh-ley-shuh n] /ˌdɛs əˈleɪ ʃən/
noun
1.
an act or instance of desolating.
2.
the state of being desolated.
3.
devastation; ruin.
5.
dreariness; barrenness.
6.
deprivation of companionship; loneliness.
7.
sorrow; grief; woe.
8.
a desolate place.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin dēsōlātiōn- (stem of dēsōlātiō) abandonment, equivalent to dēsōlāt(us) (see desolate) + -iōn- -ion
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for desolation
  • The views are stunning, as much for the austere grandeur as for the suffocating sense of desolation.
  • It left the entire nation reeling in desolation and deep grief.
  • Other members of the procession look downward in moods of desolation.
  • But the courage was perhaps born of desolation.
  • It is a pinching desolation, tight like skin.
  • The desolation and loneliness of the place were known to drive some men mad.
  • Standing alone in a withered desolation.
  • Even vicariously feeling the peak and the pit — the joy in victory, the desolation in defeat — can make this addictive.
  • The two regions have since returned to their state of desolation.
  • It is a scene of silent desolation-until, that is, tourists in hats and visors pour out of shiny buses.
British Dictionary definitions for desolation

desolation

/ˌdɛsəˈleɪʃən/
noun
1.
the act of desolating or the state of being desolated; ruin or devastation
2.
solitary misery; wretchedness
3.
a desolate region; barren waste
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 desolation
n.

late 14c., "action of laying waste," also "sorrow, grief," from Old French desolacion (12c.) "desolation, devastation, hopelessness, despair," from Church Latin desolationem (nominative desolatio), noun of action from past participle stem of desolare (see desolate (adj.)). Meaning "condition of being ruined or wasted" is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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