c. 1300, from Anglo-French despeir, Old French despoir, from desperer (see despair (v.)). Replaced native wanhope.
early 14c., from stem of Old French desperer "be dismayed, lose hope, despair," from Latin desperare "to despair, to lose all hope," from de- "without" (see de-) + sperare "to hope," from spes "hope" (see sperate). Related: Despaired; despairing; despairingly.
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