Tuesday, 9 February 2010

ABC Wednesday Round 6 D

D is for the Doldrums, being in a state of Dejection, Depression, Despair, Despondency or simply Down in the Dumps.
In nautical terms the 'equatorial calms' refers to the areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans that lie within a low-pressure zone around the equator. In this intertropical convergence zone, winds are light and variable, unpredictable.
In the early part of the 19th century a 'doldrum' was a dullard or an indolent fellow. The word probably derived from 'dol' meaning dull and, as an antonym to 'tantrum', a fit of passion and temper, became known as a doldrum or state of listlessness and lethargy. 'In the doldrums' described a general condition of low spirits.
Byron used the phrase to describe a ship trapped by shifting winds and so unable to sail and thereafter 'in the doldrums' became an accepted term for ships unable to proceed though not becalmed in the usual sense of there being no wind.
The Doldrums were not known as such until the middle of the 19th century when ships that were becalmed in the low-pressure equatorial region were described as being 'in the doldrums'. There was a misapprehension that this phrase described the sea area. In 1855 Matthew Maury's book 'The physical geography of the sea' gave the name 'the equatorial doldrums' to this region and it has been called so ever since.
Thanks go to the ABC team for hosting this meme. To see more Delightful Ds please click here.


  1. Very fascinating information I didn't know.


  2. Great post! I'm glad to read about my current state of mind!! Nothing major, just having to push myself a little harder than usual! Hope you're having a good week!


  3. Fascinating story about the meaning of the word!

  4. Fascinating. I had no idea about the origin of the word. that's what makes ABC Wednesday so much fun.

  5. How interesting! Thank you!

  6. Interesting facts there. I can just recall people being in the doldrums when they were sad.

  7. Thank you for the origins of "doldrums." I'm not currently in the doldrums at the moment but I know many people who are!

  8. How interesting! I had no idea about the doldrum/tantrum connection. I could wish that the weather would have a fit of the doldrums right at this minute. It seems to be having a tantrum.

  9. Good reading. On behalf of the ABC Wed. Team, Thanks for participating in ABC Wed.

  10. Great word and interesting etymology.
    For some reason I never think of it as a feeling but always imagine a sailing ship becalmed, the rigging creaking, while the crew sweat and wait for some wind. I must have read far too many books involving seafaring derring-do as a child.

  11. Most imnformative, especially the portmanteau.


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