This week’s word is “doldrums.” Even though its meaning is probably familiar, I loved learning about its nautical connection.
- a period of inactivity or stagnation
- a state of feeling listless or despondent
- When capitalized, Doldrums refers to a part of the ocean near the equator, known by sailors to have light or shifting winds in which they struggled to make any headway.
According to The Phrase Finder, the derivation of the word is not definitive, but even before sailors used it to describe areas with becalming wind conditions, it was used in the 19th century to mean a dull fellow. In this context, it was thought to be derived from “dol” (meaning dull) and a form taken from “tantrum” (meaning a fit of petulance). So a doldrum was a fit of sloth and dullness.
Examples of “doldrums” usage
The hot, muggy weather put me in the doldrums, and I moped around like a sick puppy all day. What I needed was a deep dive into a cool, clear lake.
The sudden downturn in the U.S. economy in 2008 put the banking industry in the doldrums, and it took years before their industry stocks were star performers again.
How would you use “doldrums” in a sentence?