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

Definition of desperately

1 : in a way that involves despair, extreme measures, or rashness : in a desperate manner struggling desperately desperately crying out
2 : extremely, terribly desperately tired desperately important

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Examples of desperately in a Sentence

all of a sudden everything went desperately wrong
Recent Examples on the Web Your track record of keeping them alive has been less than stellar, and the country’s desperately strained delivery infrastructure could do with one less heavy, fragile package. Dina Gachman, New York Times, "No Natural Light? No Problem," 11 May 2020 States of higher consciousness are, of course, generally desperately short lived. The School Of Life, CNN, "The School of Life presents: Another way to think about death," 6 May 2020 Hospital quarantine rules keep a patient, desperately sick with the virus, from holding the hands of family members in one last moment together. Washington Post, "An oral history of the coronavirus pandemic," 15 Apr. 2020 The desperately remarkable three innings of relief put in by Pat Darcy, when there simply was no one else. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: 'The Play' pushes Cincinnati Reds to the brink in 1975 World Series replay," 5 Apr. 2020 Overwhelmed health services are desperately short of mechanical ventilators to help the roughly 10% of sufferers with severe symptoms to breathe. The Economist, "My iron lung Companies are scrambling to build more ventilators," 19 Mar. 2020 As Oestricher desperately fought to maintain control of his wild steed, the situation became increasingly dire as the YF-16 began to veer to the left. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "That Time When the F-16 Accidentally Had Its First Flight," 23 Jan. 2020 Hundreds more are expected in the coming weeks but the sector will still be desperately understaffed. NBC News, "Moratorium on travel may devastate U.K. fruit and vegetable growers," 2 May 2020 The census is desperately important to California, which already has put up $187 million to ensure that every resident is counted. John Wildermuth,, "California coronavirus threatens to disrupt political redistricting," 1 May 2020

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

circa 1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for desperately

see desperate

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Time Traveler for desperately

Time Traveler

The first known use of desperately was circa 1547

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Statistics for desperately

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Desperately.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for desperately


des·​per·​ate·​ly | \ ˈde-spə-rət-lē How to pronounce desperately (audio) , -sprət-lē \

Kids Definition of desperately

1 : in a way showing great worry and weakening hope They desperately called for help.
2 : in such a way as to leave little hope He became desperately ill.
3 : with great intensity … I wished desperately that I knew where my mama was …— Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie

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Comments on desperately

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