What Does Doom and Gloom Mean?

Doom and Gloom Meaning

Definition: Negativity.

Origin of Doom and Gloom

This exact origin of this phrase is unclear. It is a relatively new expression, originating in the latter part of the 1800s.

One of the first known print sources is from a North Carolina paper The Statesville Landmark from the year 1875:

  • Slowly, and with a tone of doom and gloom, the ponderous clock began striking.

Another early use of the phrase is from the 1947 musical comedy Finian’s Rainbow. In the film, a pessimistic leprechaun sings the following,

  • I told you that gold could only bring you doom and gloom, gloom and doom.

Since the mid-20th century, this phrase has seen a large increase in use. It is quite common in today’s parlance.

Examples of Doom and Gloom

what is doom and gloom In the example below, one sibling is talking to another about what they think will happen in the future.

Jordan: Hey, James.

James: Hey. What’s up? You seem a little down.

Jordan: I was just finishing up my essay on global tax reform. It’s much worse than I realized! I had no idea how many countries are restricting economic freedom and raising taxes.

James: Wow! It sounds like your essay is full of doom and gloom!

Jordan: It is, because we are all doomed.

James: Okay, well, I still want to stay positive that we can fix the problems by creating jobs in our local community.

Jordan: It’s too late for that.

rolling stones doom and gloom rolling stones –In the second dialogue, two coworkers are discussing the future of their company.

Job: I heard some bad news.

Melissa: What is it?

Job: Are you sure you want to know? It’s nothing good. It’s all doom and gloom, actually.

Melissa: I don’t care. I still want to know. What is it?

Job: Our company is bankrupt. We might all lose our jobs by the end of this week.

Melissa: Oh no! It took me so long to find this job. I can’t imagine having to find another job. And I don’t know how I could afford to pay my rent either!

More Examples

This excerpt is about people who don’t feel positive about their future.

  • In other words, Brussels is still smarting from Britain’s diss, and London’s own pro-EU types are repeating the doom-and-gloom predictions they made during their anti-Brexit campaign. –New York Post

The second example is from an article about homeless people.

  • The problem was compounded until welfare reform was passed at the federal level, an epic advance that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. All the talk of doom and gloom was wrong, with millions of Americans moving from welfare to work because they had to. That was an example of tough love that helped downtrodden, dependent people build better lives for themselves. –New York Post


Doom and gloom are two rhyming nouns that describe a pessimistic view.