Word of the Day: Depression
de-pres-sion / dĭ-prĕsh-ən
1. the act of pressing down or causing to lower or the state of such
Besides, the dilation of the hydrogen involved no danger, and only three-fourths of the vast capacity of the balloon was filled when the barometer, by a depression of eight inches, announced an elevation of six thousand feet.
From “Five Weeks in a Balloon” by Jules Verne, 1828 – 1905
2. a feeling of despair, hopelessness, sadness
Concern should drive us into action, not into a depression.
Pythagoras, 571 BC – 495 BC
3. (psychiatry) a mental condition characterized by lasting sadness or despair, poor concentration, etc., it is also called clinical depression
Since the Second World War, rates of common mental illness (depression and anxiety) have been increasing in the industrialized nations, whereas rates of recovery from severe mental illness have not improved despite the availability of apparently effective therapies such as antipsychotic drugs.
Richard Bentall, 1956 –
4. a low place or hole or basin
The men curled into depressions and fitted themselves snugly behind whatever would frustrate a bullet.
From “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane, 1871 – 1900
5. a substantial slump in economic conditions; a long recession
A depression is when wages are cut so low no one makes enough to live on and a recession is when the price of everything goes up so high no one makes enough to live on.
The Atlanta Constitution, January 23, 1938, www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/economic-recession-vs-depression-difference, accessed August 4, 2021
6. the Depression, also called the Great Depression or the Slump, a period in the early 1930s when there was a major economic slump throughout the world and an extremely high rate of unemployment
The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.
Milton Friedman. 1912 – 2006
7. a low or reduced state of activity
Benzodiazepines, a class of drugs widely used as anxiolytics, can induce a depression of respiration.
M. Pokorski, P.E. Paulev, M. Szereda-Przestaszewska, “Endogenous benzodiazepine system and regulation of respiration in the cat”, www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8091023, August 3, 2021
8. an area of low atmospheric pressure, with a large area of wind that spirals inward, often bringing precipitation; also known as a low
Depressions develop when warm air from the sub-tropics meets cold air from the polar regions.
http://www.enviropedia.org.uk/Weather/Depressions.php, accessed August 3, 2021
9. the angular distance of an object or celestial object below the horizontal plane through the point of observation
The purpose of these observations is to calculate the depression of the sun below the horizon at which the normal eye can discriminate the dawn (morning white thread) for two sites.
A. H. Hassan, I. A. Issa, M. Mousa and Yasser A. Abdel-Hadi, “Naked eye determination of the dawn for Sinai and Assiut of Egypt”, ‘NRIAG Journal of Astronomy and Geophysics’, Taylor & Francis Online, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1016/j.nrjag.2016.02.001, May 8, 2019
From the Latin feminine noun depressio, depressionis (the act of lowering or sinking down) derived ultimately from a combination of the Latin prepositional prefix de- (down, from, about), the Latin verb premo, premere, pressi, pressum (press, press out, press upon), and the Latin abstract-noun-forming suffix -tio, tionis indicating the action of a verb.
Thank you to Allen Ward for providing this etymology.