slough of despond

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the name of a bog in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.

Noun[edit]

slough of despond ‎(plural sloughs of despond)

  1. A state of disheartening hopelessness.
    • 1907, H. L. Mencken, The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche[1], published 2003, page 68:
      Only after he had ceased dreaming of them and thrown off his crushing burden of transcendental morality—only thus and then could he hope to rise out of the slough of despond in which he wallowed.
    • 2003, Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason (Penguin 2004, p. 183)
      Why could Johnson not drag himself out of this slough of despond?
    • 2012, J. J. Godfrey, A Philosophy of Human Hope[2], page 226:
      If there is one feature common to all religions, it may be the message that there is a way out, a way up, from the slough of despond or the cave of presumption.