despondence (n.)

"despondent condition, a sinking or dejection of spirit from loss of hope or courage in affliction or difficulty," 1670s, from Latin despondentem (nominative despondens), present participle of despondere "to give up, lose, lose heart, resign, to promise in marriage" (especially in phrase animam despondere, literally "give up one's soul"), etymologically "to promise to give something away," from de "away" (see de-) + spondere "to promise" (see sponsor (n.)).

Despondency is a loss of hope sufficient to produce a loss of courage and a disposition to relax or relinquish effort, the despondent person tending to sink into spiritless inaction. Despair means a total loss of hope; despondency does not. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

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