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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of desperately in a Sentence

all of a sudden everything went desperately wrong
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, the federal government desperately needs to implement a comprehensive supply-side agenda – low-taxes, affordable government spending, sound money, free international trade, and low-cost regulations. Wayne Winegarden, Forbes, "It’s Time For A Supply-Side Resurgence," 10 May 2021 Faced with one unemployable client and one top-earner who desperately needs some new material, Jimmy gets them both off his back with a pragmatic brainstorm: Ava will move to Las Vegas and help Deborah Vance punch up her act. Kristen Baldwin,, "Hacks review: Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder kill as comedians at odds," 5 May 2021 Dickerson can go at guard or center for Philadelphia, which desperately needs to revamp its O-line. Barry Wilner, ajc, "SEC still most coveted conference, 3 more QBs taken," 1 May 2021 But fans have not always relied on the Quintanillas to embrace Selena’s stance as an icon for Mexican Americans — a community that desperately needs someone to look up to, now more than ever. Rosa Sanchez, Rolling Stone, "Who Owns Selena’s Legacy?," 30 Apr. 2021 Dickerson can go at guard or center for Philadelphia, which desperately needs to revamp its O-line. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "SEC still most coveted conference, 3 more QBs taken," 30 Apr. 2021 The world desperately needs more of these agents, driven by a healthy obsession that moves us beyond today’s inadequate definition of corporate purpose and closer to something like progress. Alain Sylvain, Quartz, "How to move company purpose beyond empty platitudes," 29 Apr. 2021 That would leave every defender in this draft class available for a team that desperately needs to upgrade that side of the ball. David Moore, Dallas News, "No matter how first round goes, the Dallas Cowboys could be spoiled for choice in NFL draft," 28 Apr. 2021 With movie theaters across the country starting to open their doors again, the movie business desperately needs the kind of shot in the arm that a glittering celebration like the Oscars can provide. Los Angeles Times, "Here’s how a surreal Oscars 2021 season found relevance in a year without movie theaters," 25 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of desperately

circa 1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for desperately

see desperate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about desperately

Time Traveler for desperately

Time Traveler

The first known use of desperately was circa 1547

See more words from the same year

Statistics for desperately

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Desperately.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on desperately

What made you want to look up desperately? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!