from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A depressant or sedative drug, such as a barbiturate or tranquilizer.
  • noun One that depresses, such as an experience or person.
  • adjective Unable to stand because of disease or sometimes injury. Used of livestock.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun colloq. a drug that reduces excitability and calms a person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A negative drug trip.
  • noun A drug that has depressant qualities.
  • noun Something or someone disagreeable, dispiriting or depressing; a killjoy

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a drug that reduces excitability and calms a person


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • And they identified it because the cow was what they call a downer cow.

    CNN Transcript Mar 13, 2006

  • Because this is an older beef cow, and it was what they call a downer cow, meaning it couldn't walk and meat from downer cows is not used in the human food supply.

    CNN Transcript Jun 11, 2005

  • And it is our standard operating procedure that what they call downer animals will be tested if they come to the slaughter facility as a downer animal.

    CNN Transcript Dec 23, 2003

  • There are other problems with pacing (that whole loony inflatable life raft scene), but "Willie" is the main downer for the whole movie.

    Ken's Nostalgic Indiana Jones Adventure - Part 2! «

  • "To label [Béla] Tarr, co-subject of this week's micro-retro at the Harvard Film Archive, as a downer is merely a philistine's impatient way of saying he's an existentialist, a modern-film Dostoyevsky-Beckett with a distinctly Hungarian taste for suicidal depression, morose self-amusement, and bile," writes Michael Atkinson.

    GreenCine Daily: Fests and events, 1/11.

  • The only downer is that they appear to be on the nights Ted seems to most often (though not really predictably) have off.

    colorist poll

  • The downer is that you need to be a goofy Hyperspace member to check it out online otherwise scroll down the page past all the nerdy posts to see US airtimes.

    November 2004

  • The downer is that you need to be a goofy Hyperspace member to check it out online otherwise scroll down the page past all the nerdy posts to see US airtimes.

    Episode 3 Teaser Trailer available

  • You’ve got to find a way to signal to the reader that this self-loathing, nihilistic downer is nevertheless a human worth caring about.

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » INTERVIEW: Donald Maass, Part 2

  • Industry calls the downer cow video an anomaly though that doesn't explain the all too regular recalls across the factory food industry, does it?

    Former FDA official: "We are fortunate more hasn't gone wrong"


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  • A town in Clay County, Minnesota, USA. If you're having a bad week, perhaps this is not the place for your weekend getaway.

    January 4, 2008

  • "'Why don't you have a system that uncovers this inhumane treatment of animals?' Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) asked USDA officials during congressional hearings after the Westland/Hallmark scandal. And when Ken Peterson, assistant administrator of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service told the press that the cows they saw were probably being moved 'out of the slaughter chain' and not into the slaughter chain, or that they had had accidents, Miriam Falco of CNN Medical News was skeptical. 'You’re saying that those downers never would have passed inspection anyway. But we see video of them going into the facility. So at what point does your inspection pick up on this?' she asked."

    - Martha Rosenberg, We're Eating WHAT? McDonald's-Linked Slaughterhouse Shut Down,, 23 August 2012.

    August 25, 2012