AskDefine | Define desperate

Dictionary Definition

desperate adj
1 arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope; "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" [syn: despairing]
2 desperately determined; "do-or-die revolutionaries"; "a do-or-die conflict" [syn: do-or-die(a)]
3 (of persons) dangerously reckless or violent as from urgency or despair; "a desperate criminal"; "taken hostage of desperate men"
4 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; "they took heroic measures to save his life" [syn: heroic]
5 showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire; "felt a desperate urge to confess"; "a desperate need for recognition"
6 fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless; "a desperate illness"; "on all fronts the Allies were in a desperate situation due to lack of materiel"- G.C.Marshall; "a dire emergency" [syn: dire] n : a person who is frightened and in need of help; "they prey on the hopes of the desperate"

User Contributed Dictionary




From desperatus, past participle of despero


  1. being filled with, or in a state of despair
  2. Reckless abandon in the pursuit of an extreme desire.

Derived terms

Related terms


filled with despair

Extensive Definition

Desperate may refer to:
In music:
In film:
In literature:
In other fields:
desperate in French: Desperate

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dionysiac, accident-prone, aching for, acute, affording no hope, amok, apathetic, atrocious, bacchic, baffled, balked, berserk, bleak, breakneck, careless, cheerless, climacteric, comfortless, compelling, concentrated, corybantic, craving, critical, crucial, crying, dangerous, desirous of, despairing, despondent, desponding, devil-may-care, dire, disconsolate, dismal, exquisite, fierce, foiled, foolhardy, forlorn, frantic, frenetic, frenzied, frustrated, furious, grave, great, grim, hard pressed, hard up, harum-scarum, hasty, hazardous, headlong, heinous, hopeless, hotheaded, hurried, impetuous, in despair, in desperate straits, in extremis, in extremities, like one possessed, mad, madding, maenadic, maniac, maniacal, monstrous, overeager, overenthusiastic, overzealous, panic-stricken, perilous, pinched, precarious, precipitant, precipitate, precipitous, pressing, rabid, raging, ranting, rash, raving, raving mad, reckless, running wild, scandalous, serious, shocking, slap-bang, slapdash, sorely pressed, stark-raving mad, straitened, tenuous, terrible, thwarted, uncontrollable, unhopeful, up against it, urgent, vehement, venturesome, vicious, violent, wanton, wild, without hope, wretched
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