- 1Feeling or showing a hopeless sense that a situation is so bad as to be impossible to deal with: a desperate sadness enveloped RuthMore example sentences
despairing, hopeless; anguished, distressed, in despair, suicidal; miserable, wretched, desolate; forlorn, disheartened, discouraged, demoralized, devastated, downcast, resigned, defeatist, pessimistic; distraught, fraught, overcome, out of one's mind, at one's wits' end, beside oneself, at the end of one's tether• literary dolorous
- Obviously this risks failure to treat in situations that are desperate but not hopeless.
- There are millions just like them, inhabiting the depths of poverty and hopelessness, suicidal and desperate.
- Trying to live up to the impossible hype, the desperate clamour.
- 1.1(Of an act) tried in despair or when everything else has failed: drugs used in a desperate attempt to save his lifeMore example sentences
- Charles took this desperate act in an attempt to reinforce his position in Germany.
- In a last, desperate act to save himself, James looked at his watch and pretended to be shocked.
- Because of this realism, though, the final desperate act of the movie is unlikely.
- 1.2(Of a situation) extremely serious or dangerous: there is a desperate shortage of teachersMore example sentences
grave, serious, dangerous, risky, perilous, hazardous, precarious, critical, acute; dire, very bad, calamitous, appalling, awful, terrible, frightful, dreadful, outrageous, intolerable, deplorable, lamentable, sorry, poor; hopeless, irretrievable• informal lousy, chronic• archaic or • humorous parlousurgent, pressing, compelling, crying; acute, critical, crucial, vital, drastic, serious, grave, dire, extreme, great• formal exigent
- Well Lane was the most dangerous, and was an extremely fast road in desperate need of a pedestrian crossing, she said.
- ‘No-one would leave their house and family if they were not in a desperate situation, in danger of their life,’ he says.
- Private firms are cashing in on the desperate shortage of school teachers.
- 1.3(Of a person) violent or dangerous: a desperate criminalMore example sentences
- The Narcotics Branch arrested a desperate criminal.
- And it's blowing the lid off of everything that experts believe about the most desperate and dangerous people on earth.
- The only person that would commit such a deed would be a desperate criminal, accustomed to a life of outlawry.
- 1.4Irish • informal Very bad: that beer’s desperate—it’s a wonder you’ve the nerve to offer it for saleMore example sentences
- As usual in February the weather was desperate with a blizzard and white out conditions as we arrived at car park.
- The weather was desperate - 10 degrees and savagely wet but we still loved every minute, and I think that speaks volumes for this place.
- 2 [predic.] (Of a person) having a great need or desire for something: I am desperate for a cigarette [with infinitive]: other women are desperate to get back to workMore example sentences
- I was so desperate for the object of my craving that I almost blurted out, ‘Are you going to buy that?’
- They were desperate for somebody to do something.
- ‘We are desperate for community facilities in the area and here we have something that works, so we should just leave it alone,’ he told the meeting.
- More example sentences
- She showed the desperateness of suffering, a woman's incredible patience with injustice and finally, a lowbrow grace that is not common in a world filled with pretensions.
- And then we looked at each other for just a moment, one still moment, before the desperateness took over and we were clinging to each other as tightly as we dared.
- Sally begged and there was desperateness in her tone.
late Middle English (in the sense 'in despair'): from Latin desperatus 'deprived of hope', past participle of desperare (see despair).