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disconsolate


From a Latin word meaning "soothe," solace is comfort or relief from grief or sadness.

Something that consoles you gives you solace: it soothes you or cheers you up, bringing you comfort or relief.

Something that disconsolates you does the opposite: it stresses you out or disheartens you. (Why is it "disconsolate" and not "disconsole"? I don't know! But we don't even use "disconsolate" anymore, so we don't have to worry about it.)

And so, disconsolate people and things are very sad: so sad that they can't even be comforted or cheered up by anything.

Pronunciation:
diss CON suh lutt

Part of speech:
Adjective.
(Adjectives are describing words, like "large" or "late."
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in "a disconsolate frown" or "a disconsolate person."
2. After a linking verb, as in "It was disconsolate" or "He was disconsolate.")

Other forms:
disconsolating, disconsolately, disconsolation/disconsolateness

How to use it:
Talk about disconsolate people, faces, gestures, speech, writing, moods, and tones.

("Disconsolate" usually describes people and their actions in a certain moment, as they handle a certain disappointing situation. It doesn't describe people's overall personalities.)

Although "disconsolate" usually describes sad people (and the things people do to reveal their sadness), it can also describe things that cause sadness or are filled with sadness. So we can talk about disconsolate images and scenes, disconsolate hours and months, disconsolate ennui and monotony, etc.

Not only can we call things disconsolate, meaning they make us sad, but we can also personify things by calling them disconsolate--saying they are sad. Here's Agnes Sanford: "The kitchen was floored with a disconsolate brown linoleum that showed every spot."

examples:
Inside Cooper Hall, that nondescript brick rectangle sagging with age, freshmen filed in for their introductory classes, their excited chatter filling the otherwise disconsolate gray cinder-block halls.


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