Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Dispirited and depressed; dejected.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Sad because of a recent disappointment.
  • adj. Depressed.
  • adj. Having the crest, or upper part of the neck, hanging to one side.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. With hanging head; hence, dispirited; dejected; cowed.
  • adj. Having the crest, or upper part of the neck, hanging to one side; -- said of a horse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Dejected; bowed; chagrined; dispirited; spiritless.
  • In the manège, having the upper part of the neck hanging to one side: said of a horse.

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

  • adj. brought low in spirit

Etymologies

From crest +‎ fallen, from the appearance of a horse and its position of head on its crest (chest) after defeat in a battle (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "2. In the manège, having the upper part of the neck hanging to one side: said of a horse." -- Cent. Dict.

    May 31, 2011

  • "I wish I'd been reincarnated as a rooster," said Tom, crestfallen.

    August 1, 2009

  • Classic.

    December 14, 2007

  • "I dropped the toothpaste," signaled Tom, crestfallen.

    December 14, 2007

  • Indeed. But don't tell him I told you so! :)

    July 26, 2007

  • "Dear S" refers to Mr. Slumry?

    July 26, 2007

  • I've seen many references to individual words and reflected on how common the phenomenon is. I will have to dig to find the lists. However, as always, reality intrudes. ;-)

    July 26, 2007

  • I think we have a few of them already!

    July 26, 2007

  • Dear S always says chestfallen. We need a list of words that are comically mispronounced, whether accidentally or on purpose.

    July 26, 2007