Definition of desperate
1a : having lost hope a desperate spirit crying for reliefb : giving no ground for hope the outlook was desperate
2a : moved by despair or utter loss of hope victims made desperate by abuseb : 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
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.
Recent Examples of desperate from the Web
Despite its desperate need for soldiers, the Confederacy did not relent from this position until a few months before Lee’s surrender.
But no tax bill has been introduced -- or even circulated -- and Republicans who strongly support Trump and are desperate to advance some kind of tax bill fret that the White House is falling far behind.
Desperate not to cause more damage to a body already covered in blisters and wounds.
Desperate to break the deadlock, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno tried to devise a compromise plan.
City of God (Ciudad de Deus, 2002) Commando 2: The Black Money Trail (2017) De-Lovely (2004) Desperate Hours (1990) Dragon Eyes (2012)
Khaula Hadeed came to the United States from Pakistan because her husband, a physician, was willing to spend three-plus years working in a rural Alabama hospital that was desperate for doctors.
These types of lifestyle changes take time when patients are desperate for options, but nutritionists and physicians generally avoid recommending dietary supplements.
In a desperate mission to raise revenue and cut costs, the administration drafted a plan to increase tuition based on a family’s ability to pay.
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.
Origin and Etymology of desperate
Latin desperatus, past participle of desperare —see 1despair
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of desperate
DESPERATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of desperate for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of desperate for Students
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.
Seen and Heard
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