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

  • adj. Having lost all hope; despairing.
  • adj. Marked by, arising from, or showing despair: the desperate look of hunger; a desperate cry for help.
  • adj. Reckless or violent because of despair: a desperate criminal.
  • adj. Undertaken out of extreme urgency or as a last resort: a desperate attempt to save the family business.
  • adj. Nearly hopeless; critical: a desperate illness; a desperate situation.
  • adj. Suffering or driven by great need or distress: desperate for recognition.
  • adj. Extremely intense: felt a desperate urge to tell the truth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Being filled with, or in a state of despair; hopeless.
  • adj. Having reckless abandon in the pursuit of an extreme desire.
  • adj. Extremely intense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Without hope; given to despair; hopeless.
  • adj. Beyond hope; causing despair; extremely perilous; irretrievable; past cure, or, at least, extremely dangerous
  • adj. Proceeding from, or suggested by, despair; without regard to danger or safety; reckless; furious.
  • adj. Extreme, in a bad sense; outrageous; -- used to mark the extreme predominance of a bad quality.
  • n. One desperate or hopeless.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having no hope; hopeless; despairing.
  • Without care for safety; extremely rash; reckless from despair, passion, or ferocity: as, a desperate man.
  • Done or resorted to without regard to consequences, or in the last extremity; showing despair or recklessness; extremely hazardous: as, a desperate undertaking; desperate remedies.
  • Beyond hope of recovery; irretrievable; irremediable; hopeless: as, desperate fortunes; a desperate situation or condition.
  • Such as to be despaired of; extremely difficult to do, manage, cure, or reclaim.
  • Synonyms and Headlong, violent, mad, wild, furious, frantic.

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

  • adj. desperately determined
  • n. a person who is frightened and in need of help
  • adj. showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire
  • adj. arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope
  • adj. fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless
  • adj. (of persons) dangerously reckless or violent as from urgency or despair
  • adj. showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation as a last resort


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

Middle English desperat, from Latin dēspērātus, past participle of dēspērāre, to despair; see despair.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin dēspērātus, past participle of dēspērō ("to be without hope")


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