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[des-puh-rey-shuh n] /ˌdɛs pəˈreɪ ʃən/
the state of being desperate or of having the recklessness of despair.
the act or fact of despairing; despair.
Origin of desperation
1325-75; Middle English desperacioun < Latin dēspērātiōn- (stem of dēspērātiō). See desperate, -ion
1. See despair. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for desperation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He said this in a tone of desperation which amused them all very much.

    The Light of the Star Hamlin Garland
  • Her desperation lent her invention; just in this one way he must not find her out.

  • In desperation I raised her and hung her over my shoulder, rising at the same time and walking up and down the aisle.

    The Blunders of a Bashful Man Metta Victoria Fuller Victor
  • Perhaps in desperation you may assume the role of cook yourself.

    A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
  • Such amazing courage was but desperation and a complete ignorance of the place they were in.

    The Sea and the Jungle H. M. Tomlinson
British Dictionary definitions for desperation


desperate recklessness
the act of despairing or the state of being desperate
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 desperation

mid-14c., from Middle French désperation or directly from Latin desperationem (nominative desperatio) "despair, hopelessness," noun of action from past participle stem of desperare "lose hope" (see despair (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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