desperate

adjective
des·​per·​ate | \ ˈde-sp(ə-)rət How to pronounce desperate (audio) , -spərt\

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

At this year’s tournament in France figures smashed records without such desperate measures. The Economist, "Women’s football is becoming big business," 12 July 2019 One day Algren’s girlfriend discovered the desperate writer with a gas pipe in his mouth. Algis Valiunas, National Review, "Nelson Algren: Chicago’s Bard of the Downtrodden," 11 July 2019 India, a team full of world superstars and one of the most vaunted batting line-ups in the game, was blown away by a New Zealand side desperate for redemption and another crack at glory after losing out in the 2015 final. James Masters, CNN, "India crashes out to New Zealand in Cricket World Cup semifinal," 10 July 2019 Putting panhandlers in jail is a short-term non-solution to a condition requiring long-term efforts to help lead citizens down a less-desperate path. Roy S. Johnson, al.com, "SPLC says it will ‘likely’ sue if Montgomery mayor does not veto panhandling ordinance," 10 July 2019 The Sun reports that, privately, Solskjaer, who is described as 'desperate' in the story, will ask Pogba to stay at Old Trafford for one more year and help drive the rebuilding project. SI.com, "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Insists Man Utd 'Don't Have to Sell' in Warning to Paul Pogba & Romelu Lukaku," 10 July 2019 The Kentucky losing streak to Florida might have ended at 16 games had Lorenzen taken a sack late in the 2003 game instead of making a desperate heave that was intercepted to set up the game-winning score. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Jared Lorenzen was not Kentucky's best quarterback, but he was its most memorable," 10 July 2019 Sanctions have Iran in desperate economic trouble; stay the course, keep the sanctions and this regime may fold. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Stay the course with Iran, and this regime may fold," 9 July 2019 The university’s supporters have embarked on a desperate scramble to persuade lawmakers to override the governor’s line-item veto, which would reduce the operating funds the university system gets from the state by 41 percent. Mike Baker, New York Times, "Blindsided by a ‘Devastating’ Veto, Alaska’s University System Pleads for a Lifeline," 7 July 2019

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

14 Jul 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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