Feel Down: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
June 9, 2023

The idiom "feel down" usually refers to experiencing sadness, depression, or a general sense of despondency. However, it's often used in a broader sense to denote experiencing any form of emotional low or struggle.

In short:

"Feel down" usually represents feeling low, discouraged, or in low spirits.

What Does "Feel Down" Mean?

The phrase refers to feelings of sadness, discouragement, or reduced motivation or morale. It implies experiencing emotions that negatively affect one's mood, outlook, and enjoyment of activities.

Core meanings include: 

  • It primarily refers to feeling sad or low in spirits.
  • It can also suggest feeling disappointed, frustrated, or generally discontented.
  • Although used informally, it addresses serious issues like mental health and emotional well-being.

Where Does "Feel Down" Come From?

The phrase "feel down" originated from the metaphorical use of the word "down" to indicate low spirits, similar to the physical notion of being lower than usual. Its usage became common during the mid-20th century.

Historical Example

"Cloudless morning, cold and chilling! This, I think, is the last day of autumn... I feel down-hearted."

- The Ladies' Repository, 1858

10 Examples of "Feel Down" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • It's normal to feel down sometimes, but if it lasts for a long time, you should talk to someone about it.
  • She feels down because she didn't do well on her test.
  • Trying to lie low and staying away from social activities can make me feel down.
  • When I feel down, I sometimes resort to these so-called happy pills to lift my spirits.
  • If you feel down a lot of the time, you might be dealing with depression.
  • I received lots of love from my friends and family, which helps when I feel down.
  • When I feel down, spending time in nature always lifts my spirits.
  • Exercise can be helpful if you feel down, as it releases mood-enhancing endorphins.
  • Feeling down after a loss or disappointment is completely normal.
  • Even though I feel down at the moment, I hope all goes well in the upcoming job interview.

Examples of "Feel Down" in Pop Culture

The phrase "feel down" appears in pop culture, often as an expression of emotional lows or struggles.

Let's take a look at some examples:

  • A quote from the 2016 self-help book "What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now" reads: "When you feel discouraged, you may think you are worthless; when you feel down, you think you're a failure; when you feel anxious, you might think everyone is judging you."
  • In the comedy series "The Big Bang Theory" (2007-2019), Raj Koothrappali tells Howard Wolowitz, "You know what I do when I feel down?"
  • In the crime/drama movie "Party Monster" (2003), Michael Alig tells James, "Why don't we make a pact whenever you feel down, I'll help you, and whenever I feel down, you'll help me, it'll be like a seesaw except neither one of us can get off."

Other/Different Ways to Say "Feel Down"

There are several other expressions that convey a similar meaning to "feel down."

Here are a few examples:

  • Feeling low
  • Feeling blue
  • In the dumps
  • Down in the mouth
  • Feeling depressed

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Feel Down":

  • What does "feel down" mean?

"Feel down" generally refers to experiencing sadness, depression, or a general sense of low spirits.

  • How can I use "feel down" in a sentence?

You can use "feel down" to express feelings of sadness or melancholy. For example, "I've been feeling down since I lost my job."

  • Where does the idiom "feel down" come from?

The phrase originated from the metaphorical use of the word "down" to denote low spirits. It became popular during the mid 20th century.

  • Is "feel down" a formal term?

"Feel down" is an informal term, often used in casual or conversational contexts.

  • Does "feel down" only refer to severe sadness or depression?

No, while it often refers to feeling depressed or very sad, it can also denote feeling slightly sad, disappointed, or generally discontented.

  • Is "feel down" a universally understood term?

Yes, "feel down" is widely understood to mean feeling sad or low in spirits. It's used across many English-speaking cultures.

  • Can "feel down" refer to physical illness?

While it's typically used to express emotional lows, in some contexts, "feel down" might be used to describe feeling unwell physically.

  • Is "feel down" always negative?

Generally, "feel down" denotes negative emotions. However, acknowledging and expressing such feelings can be an important part of emotional health and well-being.

  • Are there any synonyms for "feel down"?

Yes, synonyms include "feel low," "feel depressed," "feel blue," "be down in the dumps," and "be down in the mouth."

  • Can "feel down" be used in a formal context?

While it's not typically used in highly formal or academic writing, it might be used in professional contexts where a more conversational or empathetic tone is appropriate.

Final Thoughts About "Feel Down"

The idiom "feel down" refers to experiencing feelings of sadness, disappointment, or low spirits. It is commonly used in informal and conversational contexts.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The term is often used to express feelings of sadness, melancholy, or general discontentment.
  • The phrase originates from the metaphorical use of "down" to represent low spirits.
  • Its usage is generally casual and informal.
  • While typically used to express emotional lows, "feel down" might, in some contexts, denote physical unwellness.

"Feel down" is a key part of our emotional vocabulary, allowing us to communicate and empathize with each other's experiences of sadness or disappointment. As with any phrase related to emotional states, it's crucial to approach its use with sensitivity and understanding, acknowledging the individual experiences that underpin our emotions.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy