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I am writing a small piece on the current financial and economic crisis, and I am looking for adjectives or short expressions that describe the sense of helplessness that seems to hang over many people these days, like a sense of having no way out from the current difficult economic and political situation.

  1. People feel ____ in current economic environment.

  2. Workers think they are ____ because of economic crisis.

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What about "helpless" ? – ermanen May 15 '14 at 15:51
or impotent, powerless, or handcuffed? This seems like a good thesaurus question. – frances May 15 '14 at 16:02
This is a thesaurus question; helpless, impotent and powerless are three very good starting points. – Sam May 15 '14 at 16:41
possible duplicate of What other word can we use in place of "helpless" – FumbleFingers May 15 '14 at 16:55

People feel hopeless in current economic environment.

Workers think they are hopeless, because of economic crisis.

Hopelessness is what seems to come the closest to the feeling of having no way out from a difficult situation, as described in the OP.

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I like the word vulnerable in your sentences.

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Your a sense of having no way out leads me to suggest feeling trapped or cornered or stuck in the current economic environment.

Taking this a little further, you could also use words with more imagery that suggest being stuck in a certain economic “landscape” such as bogged down or mired, or use quicksand as a metaphor for being sucked down further into the ground even as you try to free yourself.

There are still more colorful metaphors that are probably too vulgar for your piece.

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a) Doomed

b) Screwed

c) Screwed over

d) Like they've been given the shaft

e) Deceived

f) Exploited


As 1), minus d).

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Consider fragile

(Of a person) not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Well, many adjectives may work in this context I think, I suggest lost with the meaning of:

  • unable to find one's way or ascertain one's whereabouts (in a figurative sense).

I guess this is what many people affected by the crisis feel.

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In Australia you would be stonkered.

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