What does the idiom "down in the dumps" mean?

down in the dumps is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression down in the dumps is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "down in the dumps"


The phrase ‘down in the dumps’ is an idiom often used to describe a person who is feeling sad, depressed or discouraged. It is usually used to refer to someone who has been feeling this way for a while and not just a mood that is fleeting or transitory.


The phrase ‘down in the dumps’ has an interesting etymological origin that dates back to the 18th century. It is believed to have first been used in the early 1700s in England, where it was used as a metaphor for the pits of garbage, or ‘dumps’, in the street. The phrase was used to describe someone who was so down and out that they were living in the ‘dumps’.


The phrase ‘down in the dumps’ is most commonly used to describe a person who is feeling down or depressed, but it can also be used to describe a person who is feeling discouraged or dejected. It is often used in the context of someone who has been feeling down and out for a while, rather than just a short-term sadness. It is commonly used both in spoken language and in writing.

Example Sentences

  • After his divorce, John was really down in the dumps for weeks.
  • Sally has been down in the dumps since she got the news about her job.
  • He's been so down in the dumps lately that he hasn't wanted to go out with us.
  • I could tell he was down in the dumps, so I tried to cheer him up.

The meanings of the words in the "down in the dumps" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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