Simple Definition of dire
: very bad : causing great fear or worry
: warning of disaster : showing a very bad future
: requiring immediate action : very urgent
Examples of dire in a sentence
The alleged threat posed by Yellowstone's 3,600 buffalo came from the fact that they carry brucella, a bacterium that cycles harmlessly enough in Bison bison but has considerably more dire effects on cattle. —Christopher Ketcham, Harper's , June 2008
Whether one is a lowly farmer or an urban worker, a student, professional, or a member of the elite, a meal is not complete unless rice is served to accompany the main viand of pork, fish, chicken, beef, vegetables or in the most dire circumstances, dry fish or salt. —Georgina R. Encanto, Food , April 2000
All wild tigers are threatened with extinction, but Sumatran tigers are in especially dire straits because the world's zoos have only 235 of them in captive-breeding programs. —Audubon, November-December 1998
The circumstances are now more dire than ever.
Some analysts are issuing dire economic forecasts.
They live in dire poverty.
dire Straits and furies
Dire and fury share a history in Roman mythology, as each of these words is connected to the Erinyes, the avenging and terrifying deities of ancient myth who tormented criminals. The Romans referred to these goddesses as either the Dirae or the Furiae. The former is from the Latin word dirus, from which dire is descended, and the latter comes from furere, from where we get fury. The word dire is often found in conjunction with straits; in dire straits is used of a situation that is very bad or difficult. Our records indicate that this phrase began to be used in English at the end of the 18th century, when it appeared in Francis Fawkes’s The Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius: “When now the heroes through the vast profound, Reach the dire straits with rocks encompass’d round.”
Origin and Etymology of dire
Latin dirus; akin to Greek deinos terrifying, Sanskrit dveṣṭi he hates
First Known Use: 1565
DIRE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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