Share this entry

Share this page

direful

Syllabification: dire·ful
Pronunciation: /ˈdī(ə)rfəl
 
/

Definition of direful in English:

adjective

archaic or literary
Extremely bad; dreadful.
Example sentences
  • Indeed, he is reaching down to that best-known of lieder Schubert published as his Opus 1, and reanimating, in his kaleidoscopic way, the direful night-time gallop of a father and son pursued by a pure demonic force.
  • From classical times, too, we have the phrase ‘deus ex machina’ to describe those dramas in which a hideously direful circumstance is abruptly set to rights through the intercession of some benevolent god or other.
  • The resultant blur is an emblem of the paranoid experience, a concurrence of simultaneous direful events.

Origin

late 16th century: from dire + -ful.

Derivatives

direfully

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • Immigration lawyers vary in standard from the very brilliant, to the direfully inadequate, and for those immigration candidates whose English is less than adequate, informing oneself becomes practically impossible.
  • The pupil's words may be right, but the conceptions corresponding to them are often direfully wrong.
  • Opponents of this sea change were aghast and direfully warned that if this were to occur, the sky would fall and civilization as we know it would come to an end.

Definition of direful in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtərpsikəˈrēən
adjective
of or relating to dancing