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

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

However, closer inspection reveals interesting features that add an eclectic touch to the space, providing it with the personality the client so desperately craved. Nikhita Mahtani, House Beautiful, "This Sprawling Home Is Full of Surprises," 14 Feb. 2019 At this point, he's soaked in blood and the ranger is desperately shaking him, but our fave redhead is just lying there, eyes open, unmoving. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Did Archie Really Die On "Riverdale"'s Mid-Season Premiere?," 17 Jan. 2019 As rescuers desperately searched for survivors beneath the landslides, the death toll was expected to rise. Fox News, "At least 7 dead, dozens feared buried after quake hits northern Japan," 2 Oct. 2018 Since that tragic announcement was published on the pair’s blog, fans have been desperately searching for another show to fill the void the Gaines left behind. Olivia Harrison,, "Meet Brett & Kara Phillips, HGTV's Next Chip & Joanna Gaines," 13 July 2018 Rachel Hill and Chioma Ubogagu came on in place of defenders Carson Pickett and Poliana and the Pride desperately searched for an equalizer with a host of attacking players on the pitch. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride falls 3-1 to host Houston Dash," 12 July 2018 As Morocco desperately searched for a stoppage time equalizer to Cristiano Ronaldo’s fourth-minute header during their Wednesday match against Portugal, one player’s actions earned him some ire from World Cup fans. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "World Cup Fans Are Losing It Over Pepe's Ridiculous Flop in the Portugal-Morocco Game," 20 June 2018 The moment with Tilly and Saru having a heart-to-heart in the med bay was exactly the kind of character moments Discovery desperately needs. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Gets Back to Basics," 25 Jan. 2019 Because there’s something inherent to the human mind that desperately wants to personify everything. Steven Brykman, Ars Technica, "Douglas Adams was right: “Genuine people personalities” are coming to our gadgets," 22 Dec. 2018

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

Share desperately

Statistics for desperately

Last Updated

25 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desperately

The first known use of desperately was circa 1547

See more words from the same year

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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