desperate

adjective
des·​per·​ate | \ ˈdes-p(ə-)rət How to pronounce desperate (audio) , -pərt\

Definition of desperate

1a : having lost hope a desperate spirit crying for relief
b : giving no ground for hope the outlook was desperate
2a : moved by despair or utter loss of hope victims made desperate by abuse
b : involving or employing extreme measures in an attempt to escape defeat or frustration made a desperate leap for the rope
3 : suffering extreme need or anxiety desperate for money desperate to escape celebrities desperate for attention
4 : involving extreme danger or possible disaster a desperate situation
5 : of extreme intensity … a desperate languor descended heavily upon her, and she slept …— Elinor Wylie

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Other Words from desperate

desperateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for desperate

Synonyms

despairing, despondent, forlorn, hopeless

Antonyms

hopeful, optimistic

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Choose the Right Synonym for desperate

despondent, despairing, desperate, hopeless mean having lost all or nearly all hope. despondent implies a deep dejection arising from a conviction of the uselessness of further effort. despondent about yet another rejection despairing suggests the slipping away of all hope and often despondency. despairing appeals for the return of the kidnapped child desperate implies despair that prompts reckless action or violence in the face of defeat or frustration. one last desperate attempt to turn the tide of battle hopeless suggests despair and the cessation of effort or resistance and often implies acceptance or resignation. the situation of the trapped miners is hopeless

Examples of desperate in a Sentence

The collapse of her business had made her desperate. As the supply of food ran out, people became desperate. We could hear their desperate cries for help. a desperate struggle to defeat the enemy He made a desperate bid to save his job. They made one last desperate attempt to fight their way out.
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Recent Examples on the Web

During the first full summer of construction in 2016, congestion caused lines of traffic to stretch to the Grand Central Parkway, forcing desperate passengers to lug cases along roads to reach their terminal. Paul Berger, WSJ, "LaGuardia’s High-Flying Makeover Has Travelers Doing Double-Takes," 23 Feb. 2019 Booker, like other Democrats in the still-forming primary field, has only begun to build his case as the candidate who can both charge into battle and unify a party desperate to defeat Trump. Elana Schor, The Seattle Times, "Ready to fight: Cory Booker shows his tough side to voters," 20 Feb. 2019 Ariana Grande is talented, hard-working, and in desperate need of a cultural sensitivity training. Megan Lasher, Seventeen, "Some LGBTQ Fans Are Blaming Ariana Grande of Queer-Baiting In Newest Music Video," 8 Feb. 2019 Iowa State entered this season in desperate need of a veteran perimeter scorer with size like Shayok after a dismal 13-win rebuild a year ago. Luke Meredith, The Seattle Times, "Former UVA player Shayok flourishing for Iowa State," 7 Jan. 2019 Alyssa Milano might be in the forefront, but Fiji Water Girl has her eyes peeled on the person who just ate a bag of pretzels and is in desperate need of a refreshment. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Fiji Water Girl Is Becoming the Biggest Meme at the Golden Globes 2019," 6 Jan. 2019 The conflict has spurred a massive humanitarian crisis, leaving more than 12 million people on the brink of starvation and in desperate need of assistance. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Saudi Arabia is reportedly outsourcing its war in Yemen to child soldiers," 30 Dec. 2018 Alana, 15, texted her mom, desperate to know what was going on. John Woodrow Cox, The Seattle Times, "Numerous school lockdowns are traumatizing the nation’s children," 26 Dec. 2018 By not seeming desperate to make Gritty cool, the Twitter account has done a great job of making Gritty seem ... cool. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Gritty’s evolution from googly-eyed hockey mascot to meme to leftist avatar, explained," 24 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desperate.' 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 desperate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for desperate

Latin desperatus, past participle of desperare — see despair entry 2

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Statistics for desperate

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desperate

The first known use of desperate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for desperate

desperate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of desperate

: very sad and upset because of having little or no hope : feeling or showing despair
: very bad or difficult to deal with
: done with all of your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding

desperate

adjective
des·​per·​ate | \ ˈde-spə-rət How to pronounce desperate (audio) , -sprət\

Kids Definition of desperate

1 : very sad and worried and with little or no hope People became desperate for food.
2 : showing great worry and loss of hope a desperate call for help
3 : giving little reason to hope : causing despair a desperate situation
4 : reckless because of despair : rash He made a desperate attempt to escape.
5 : very severe The injury is in desperate need of attention.

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Comments on desperate

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