slough of despond
  • (Australia, RP) IPA: /ˈslaʊ əv ˈdɛspɒnd/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈslaʊ əv dɛˈspɑnd/, /ˈsluː/, /ˈdɛspɑnd/

slough of despond

  1. A dreary bog or marsh.
    • 1838, Anna Brownell Jameson, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada, London: Saunders and Otley, OCLC 471086385 ↗; republished in Sketches in Canada, and Rambles among the Red Men, new edition, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1852, OCLC 11378706 ↗, page 118 ↗:
      The road was scarcely passable; there were no longer cheerful farms and clearings, but the dark pine forest, and the rank swamp, crossed by those terrific corduroy paths (my bones ache at the mere recollection!) and deep holes and pools of rotted vegetable matter, mixed with water, black, bottomless sloughs of despond! The very horses paused on the brink of some of these mud-gulfs, and trembled ere they made the plunge downwards.
  2. (figuratively) A state of disheartening hopelessness.

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