des·​per·​a·​do | \ ˌde-spə-ˈrä-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce desperado (audio) , -ˈrā- \
plural desperadoes or desperados

Definition of desperado

: a bold or violent criminal especially : a bandit of the western U.S. in the 19th century

Examples of desperado in a Sentence

the notorious desperados of the Wild West
Recent Examples on the Web And the male rider looked the part of a desperado with his white hat & bandana, brown leather chaps, and white duster adorned with blue Cowboys stars. Kristi Scales, Dallas News, "Greg Zuerlein’s misses changed the course of Cowboys-Ravens, but it’s not the most eventful kicking night in team history," 9 Dec. 2020 Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo No one faced more pressure to thrive, aside from those desperados on the roster bubble. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers vs. Chiefs: 3 studs, 3 duds," 25 Aug. 2019 There's going to be 15 desperados over those two nights. NBC News, "Meet the Press - July 28, 2019," 28 July 2019 Buy a California fishing license at Convict Lake, named for a gang of desperadoes who broke out of a Nevada jail in 1871 and met their end in a shootout with lawmen here. Katherine Rodeghier, Dallas News, "Discover Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite’s lesser-known neighbor," 16 July 2019 That includes the dead G-Man and the desperado who gunned him down, the outlaw eventually swinging from a noose in downtown Indianapolis while a bloodthirsty crowd cheered on Alabama Street. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: One high school gym, two states, and the midcourt stripe has a secret," 3 July 2019 The desperadoes are so evil that Dutch (Borgnine) makes a joke of it when someone suggests pausing to give a decent burial to a fallen comrade. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Wild Bunch and American Disillusionment," 20 June 2019 So many of its characters remain recognizable—blustering desperadoes, who believe in their right to act outside the law and then impose rules and strictures on others. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "The Outlaw World of Deadwood," 6 June 2019 There's going to be 15 desperados over those two nights. NBC News, "Meet the Press - July 28, 2019," 28 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desperado.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of desperado

1647, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for desperado

probably alteration of obsolete desperate desperado, from desperate, adjective

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Time Traveler for desperado

Time Traveler

The first known use of desperado was in 1647

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Cite this Entry

“Desperado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of desperado

old-fashioned : a violent criminal who is not afraid of getting hurt or caught

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