Dire refers to situations or events that cause great fear and worry. A dire calamity causes much suffering.

If a family is in dire need, they need immediate help. Dire predictions or warnings tell us that a disaster may happen in the future. If you are trapped between the burning building behind you and the high cliffs in front of you, you might describe yourself as being in dire straits.

Definitions of dire
  1. adjective
    fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless
    “a dire emergency”
    synonyms: desperate
    being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency
  2. adjective
    causing fear or dread or terror
    dire news”
    synonyms: awful, direful, dread, dreaded, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terrible
    frightening because of an awareness of danger
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