Desperate means "having lost all hope." If you are desperate for food, it means you are starving, possibly about to die. If you are in a desperate situation, it means things are really, really bad.

Desperate, desparate, or despirate? The word desperate is misspelled often enough that it's the despair of English teachers. Both desperate and despair come from the same Latin verb as despair. Don't mix it up with disparate, a totally different word that means "distinctive, different, various."

Definitions of desperate
  1. noun
    a person who is frightened and in need of help
    “they prey on the hopes of the desperate
    see moresee less
    goner, toast
    a person in desperate straits; someone doomed
    type of:
    unfortunate, unfortunate person
    a person who suffers misfortune
  2. adjective
    showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire
    “felt a desperate urge to confess”
    “a desperate need for recognition”
    requiring attention or action
  3. adjective
    arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope
    “a desperate cry for help”
    “helpless and desperate--as if at the end of his tether”
    “her desperate screams”
    synonyms: despairing
    without hope because there seems to be no possibility of comfort or success
  4. adjective
    fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless
    “a desperate illness”
    synonyms: dire
    being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency
  5. adjective
    (of persons) dangerously reckless or violent as from urgency or despair
    “a desperate criminal”
    dangerous, unsafe
    involving or causing danger or risk; liable to hurt or harm
  6. adjective
    desperately determined
    synonyms: do-or-die
    firm in purpose or belief; characterized by firmness and determination
  7. adjective
    showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation as a last resort
    “made a last desperate attempt to reach the climber”
    “"the desperate gallantry of our naval task forces marked the turning point in the Pacific war"- G.C.Marshall”
    synonyms: heroic
    brave, courageous
    possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘desperate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

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