I wish I had a bigger dictionary in my brain.

I'm looking for a word describing a feeling you get when you're stuck in a place you cannot escape.

It would best describe how reality makes you feel when you watch an inspiring movie, video, or TV show. You wish that you could live that life, but know that reality isn't so kind and there is little hope it will be better.

Discouraged doesn't seem quite the right word:

deprived of courage or confidence; uncertain how to act or proceed. (MW/TFD)

It could be used in the following sentence:

That person has such an wonderful life; when I think of my own, I feel _____.

A list of possible fitting words would be splendid. The online thesauruses don't seem to be doing me justice.

  • 2
    Look up synonyms of 'frustrated', 'caged', 'trapped', 'constrained', 'captive', 'unempowered', 'hamstrung', 'paralysed' ... Mar 28, 2015 at 17:20
  • Well, there are terms like "in a funk" which describe the sort of depression one might get, though it's not necessarily tied to discouragement or hopelessness.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 28, 2015 at 17:35
  • I edited your post to fit single-word requests; if it is not what you are asking, please feel free to roll back. Mar 28, 2015 at 17:38
  • "In a funk" doesn't really describe the correct emotion. "Funk" kind of gives the "Oh, shit happens" feeling, but this character I'm trying to describe has an emotion that is more accurately described as hopeless longing. I just want a better word for it. Resigned is a good one that's been mentioned already, but I'm still holding out for a better one. Mar 28, 2015 at 17:39
  • Medica, thank you for editing my post for clarification. Mar 28, 2015 at 17:42

4 Answers 4


In those circumstances, I might feel wistful:

Full of melancholy longing or wishful yearning; characterized by a pensive longing or yearning.(TFD)

or dejected:

Being in low spirits; depressed; cast down in spirits; disheartened (TFD/MW)

Consider, also, melancholy:

a sad thoughtful state of mind; sadness or depression of the spirits; gloom; pensive reflection or contemplation. (TFD)

demoralised, disheartened,despairing, desperate, wretched, forlorn, pessimistic, defeatist, resigned, etc. It really depends on exactly how you do feel.

  • I think wistful was the word I was looking for. Mar 28, 2015 at 18:03
  • 1
    I think I'll lend our newest user an upvote medica. +1 (you owe me one, Ms. Ross) ;-)
    – user98990
    Mar 28, 2015 at 18:30
  • I don't know what that means, but thanks, I think. :) Mar 29, 2015 at 0:16

This is a fitting adjective for the "hopeless" part, but "hopefully" this will not be where this sequence ends

resigned adjective: having accepted something unpleasant that one cannot do anything about. "my response is a resigned shrug of the shoulders" see Google resigned

forlorn hope (phrase of forlorn) 1. a persistent or desperate hope that is unlikely to be fulfilled. see Google forlorn


Words that come to mind are:

stifled: suppressed, curbed, or withheld

disempowered: make (a person or group) less powerful or confident.

stagnant: characterized by lack of development, advancement, or progressive movement

demoralized: having lost confidence or hope; disheartened.

(might change to: "when I think of my own, I am demoralized.")

despondent: in low spirits from loss of hope or courage.

despair: the feeling of no longer having any hope

(change from describing how he feels to stating what he feels)

  • 1
    That all you got, Tim? ;-)
    – user98990
    Mar 28, 2015 at 18:31
  • 1
    Hi, Tim, and welcome. Good list! We tend to be slow, rather than quick, to use bolding and lots of space. I reformatted your answer to be more in keeping with the style here. If you object, please do feel free to roll back. Once again, welcome! Mar 28, 2015 at 18:38

The word is hapless.

Hap is the root word for happy.

hapless, happiness
  • Hapless means one is lacking hap, "good fortune, luck"; the words happy and happiness also have the root "hap." See also related terms for luck.

Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Adj. 1. hapless - deserving or inciting pityhapless - deserving or inciting pity; "a hapless victim"; "miserable victims of war"; "the shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic"- Galsworthy; "piteous appeals for help"; "pitiable homeless children"; "a pitiful fate"; "Oh, you poor thing"; "his poor distorted limbs"; "a wretched life"

misfortunate, pathetic, piteous, poor, miserable, pitiable, pitiful, wretched unfortunate - not favored by fortune; marked or accompanied by or resulting in ill fortune; "an unfortunate turn of events"; "an unfortunate decision"; "unfortunate investments"; "an unfortunate night for all concerned"

Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

hapless (ˈhæplɪs)

unfortunate; wretched

Derived Forms
haplessly adverb
haplessness noun

unlucky, unfortunate, cursed, unhappy, miserable, jinxed, luckless, wretched, ill-starred, ill-fated


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