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DESPERATE

Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does desperate mean? 

DESPERATE (noun)
  The noun DESPERATE has 1 sense:

1. a person who is frightened and in need of help

  Familiarity information: DESPERATE used as a noun is very rare.


DESPERATE (adjective)
  The adjective DESPERATE has 6 senses:

1. arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope
2. desperately determined
3. (of persons) dangerously reckless or violent as from urgency or despair
4. showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation as a last resort
5. showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire
6. fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless

  Familiarity information: DESPERATE used as an adjective is common.


 Dictionary entry details 


DESPERATE (noun)


Sense 1desperate [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A person who is frightened and in need of help

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people

Context example:

they prey on the hopes of the desperate

Hypernyms ("desperate" is a kind of...):

unfortunate; unfortunate person (a person who suffers misfortune)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "desperate"):

goner; toast (a person in desperate straits; someone doomed)


DESPERATE (adjective)


Sense 1desperate [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope

Synonyms:

despairing; desperate

Context examples:

a despairing view of the world situation / the last despairing plea of the condemned criminal / a desperate cry for help / helpless and desperate--as if at the end of his tether / her desperate screams

Similar:

hopeless (without hope because there seems to be no possibility of comfort or success)


Sense 2desperate [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Desperately determined

Synonyms:

do-or-die; desperate

Context examples:

do-or-die revolutionaries / a do-or-die conflict

Similar:

resolute (firm in purpose or belief; characterized by firmness and determination)


Sense 3desperate [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

(of persons) dangerously reckless or violent as from urgency or despair

Context examples:

a desperate criminal / taken hostage of desperate men

Similar:

dangerous; unsafe (involving or causing danger or risk; liable to hurt or harm)


Sense 4desperate [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation as a last resort

Synonyms:

desperate; heroic

Context examples:

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 / they took heroic measures to save his life

Similar:

brave; courageous (possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching)


Sense 5desperate [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire

Context examples:

felt a desperate urge to confess / a desperate need for recognition

Similar:

imperative (requiring attention or action)


Sense 6desperate [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless

Synonyms:

dire; desperate

Context examples:

a desperate illness / on all fronts the Allies were in a desperate situation due to lack of materiel / a dire emergency

Similar:

critical (being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency)


 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"A friend in need is a friend indeed." (English proverb)

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"An idle man is up to no good." (Corsican proverb)

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