Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Warning of or having dreadful or terrible consequences; calamitous: a dire economic forecast; dire threats.
  • adj. Urgent; desperate: in dire need; dire poverty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Ill-boding; portentous.
  • adj. Dreadful; dismal; horrible; terrible; lamentable.
  • adj. Urgent, pressing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Ill-boding; portentous.
  • adj. Evil in great degree; dreadful; dismal; horrible; terrible; lamentable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Causing or attended by great fear or terrible suffering; dreadful; awful: as, dire disaster; the dire results of intemperance.
  • Synonyms Fearful, woeful, disastrous, calamitous, destructive, terrific, awful, portentous.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless
  • adj. causing fear or dread or terror

Etymologies

Latin dīrus, fearsome, terrible; akin to Greek deinos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dirus ("fearful, ominous"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • On Friday, the LCC also detailed what it described as dire humanitarian conditions and other developments in several locales.

    CNN.com

  • WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced a series of moves Wednesday that redefine the federal government's $700 billion rescue plan for the financial industry in order to tackle what he called a dire situation in the consumer credit markets.

    News

  • He twice referred to past policy mistakes that contributed to the Great Depression, noting that the repetition of those mistakes - unregulated financial markets and trade protectionism - threaten to exacerbate what he describes as a dire global financial crisis that has yet to bottom out.

    Macleans.ca

  • Until all you entitlement libs figure this out and quit expecting everyone to bail you out and pay for everything, this country will continue to be in dire need of reform.

    CNN Poll: Americans say China's an economic threat

  • Our lop-sided world trade agreements etc., is in dire need of your time and effort.

    Clinton would 'look forward' to Palin sit down

  • The GOP would have to be in dire straits indeed if he's considered a serious candidate in 2016.

    Cantor's sights set higher than Congress?

  • Just look at who and what we have "leading" our Nation, no wonder we are in dire straits.

    Simpsons billionaire gets most write-in votes in NYC mayor race

  • Until Monday, not a single representative of the euro zone had been willing to discuss the possibility of aid measures for countries in dire financial straits.

    EU breaking up?

  • As the work has been given to Hitachi and the Japanese economy is in dire straits, I would expect the number of jobs allocated to the UK to reduce as "the situation develops".

    The BBC are the Ministry of Truth

  • We are also in dire need of people to produce non-fic horror and Lovecraft articles.

    Archive 2009-10-01

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Comments

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  • "You only came back to us when we'd turned it around
    When we'd rescued your arse from the fire
    Your contribution to all that we did was to say it was dire."

    (Take your carriage clock and shove it, by Belle and Sebastian)

    April 27, 2009

  • To say, in French.

    January 9, 2008