Desperation is a hopeless state. If you learned that your friend had sold her beloved shoe collection, you'd know she did it out of desperation.

When you've lost hope or have run out of possible solutions to a problem, you're experiencing desperation. The word implies a reckless kind of frustration. For example, a person who hasn't eaten in three days might steal food out of desperation. The origin of the word traces back to the Latin desperare, "to lose all hope," which is formed from the prefix de-, "without," added to sperare, "hope."

Definitions of desperation

n a state in which all hope is lost or absent

“courage born of desperation
Type of:
condition, status
a state at a particular time

n desperate recklessness

“it was a policy of desperation
Type of:
foolhardiness, rashness, recklessness
the trait of giving little thought to danger

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