Share this entry

dire Line breaks: dire
Pronunciation: /ˈdʌɪə/

Definition of dire in English:


1Extremely serious or urgent: misuse of drugs can have dire consequences he was in dire need of help
More example sentences
  • He also warned the government of dire consequences if the administration tried to stop either of the batches.
  • People are very reluctant to accept pay cuts, even when the company is in pretty dire straits.
  • But Wisconsin is arguably in the most dire straits.
terrible, dreadful, appalling, frightful, awful, horrible, atrocious, grim, unspeakable, distressing, harrowing, alarming, shocking, outrageous;
grave, serious, grievous, disastrous, ruinous, calamitous, catastrophic, cataclysmic, devastating, crippling;
miserable, wretched, woeful;
informal lousy, chronic
literary direful
archaic or humorous parlous
urgent, desperate, pressing, crying, sore, grave, serious, extreme, acute, drastic;
critical, crucial, vital
1.1(Of a warning or threat) presaging disaster: there were dire warnings from the traffic organizations
More example sentences
  • Here's to dire warnings, unsubstantiated threats and looking over our shoulders.
  • The State Department has issued dire warnings with threats of tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
  • There were dire warnings of an ecological disaster and world oil prices through the roof as the Iraqis set fire to the oil fields.
ominous, portentous, gloomy, doom and gloom, sinister;
grim, dreadful, dismal;
unpropitious, inauspicious, unfavourable, pessimistic
2British informal Of a very poor quality: the concert was dire
More example sentences
  • This coincided with his appearance in the movie, a fact that overrode the track's dire, insipid quality.
  • Unfortunately, the look is garish and the build quality dire.
  • The second period wasn't dire in comparison to the first, but the game was in danger of dying a death after the interval.


Mid 16th century: from Latin dirus 'fearful, threatening'.



Pronunciation: /ˈdʌɪəli/
Example sentences
  • It is also very positive that leaders are making the right noises at this very crucial transitional time in our history, and hopefully this will be the start of inner-party reconciliation, which is so direly needed right now.
  • Since much of the economic activity, at this time, and as acknowledged time and time again, is directed by Government, if the corridors are correct, then it is time for corrective measures that are direly needed.
  • Well, the airport is now direly underused - only 300 passengers go through it every day - and, not surprisingly, it's a continual money-loser.


Pronunciation: /ˈdʌɪənəs/
Example sentences
  • Then taking matters into his own hands (because there was beginning to be talk of us performing at other functions), my brother the quiet genius that he was, concocted a plan that would address the direness of the situation.
  • An editorial in The Times Picayune today faulted the two New Orleans officials for their leadership during those first few days, and for their public statements about the direness of the situation.
  • Rather than an indicator of the quality of British food, the popular appeal of celebrity chefs on British TV is precisely because its direness.

Words that rhyme with dire

acquire, admire, afire, applier, aspire, attire, ayah, backfire, barbwire, bemire, briar, buyer, byre, choir, conspire, crier, cryer, defier, denier, desire, drier, dryer, dyer, enquire, entire, esquire, expire, fire, flyer, friar, fryer, Gaia, gyre, hellfire, hire, hiya, ire, Isaiah, jambalaya, Jeremiah, Josiah, Kintyre, latria, liar, lyre, Maia, Maya, Mayer, messiah, mire, misfire, Nehemiah, Obadiah, papaya, pariah, peripeteia, perspire, playa, Praia, prior, pyre, quire, replier, scryer, shire, shyer, sire, skyer, Sophia, spire, squire, supplier, Surabaya, suspire, tier, tire, transpire, trier, tumble-dryer, tyre, Uriah, via, wire, Zechariah, Zedekiah, Zephaniah

Definition of dire in:

Share this entry


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 innocuous
Pronunciation: iˈnäkyo͞oəs
not harmful or offensive