Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Inspiring dread; terrible.
  • adjective Foreshadowing evil or disaster; ominous.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Characterized by or fraught with something dreadful; of a dire nature or appearance: as, a direful fiend; a direful misfortune.
  • Synonyms See list under dire.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Dire; dreadful; terrible; calamitous; woeful

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective inspiring fear; fearful, terrible
  • adjective portending disaster; portentous; ominous

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

  • adjective causing fear or dread or terror

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

dire +‎ -ful

Examples

  • The beginning was not easy, it was even "direful," and "methought" I should die of despair; but now things are going, I am all right, come what may!

    The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

  • The beginning was not easy, it was even "direful," and "methought" I should die of despair; but now things are going, I am all right, come what may!

    The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters

  • It's a direful thing to have in your hands, a desiccated version of Lady Gaga's skirt-steak dress.

    Madame Bovary, Grant Wood And More: Book Review Roundup

  • If it may lead any portion of the public to learn Better to distinguish than hitherto Between those who have plunged us into such a war and so long kept us in it and those who would have prevented our ever rushing into that direful whirlpool I have my chief object.

    Letter 59

  • It's a direful thing to have in your hands, a desiccated version of Lady Gaga's skirt-steak dress.

    Madame Bovary, Grant Wood And More: Book Review Roundup

  • This he took in good part, and was really pleased, nodding his head with direful foreknowledge and mystery, until George Leach, the erstwhile cabin-boy, ventured some rough pleasantry on the subject.

    Chapter 9

  • The Road could be classified as science-fiction for the near-future setting and prophetic look of a world turned to ash, and it could be classified as horror for the suspense and direful moments the characters must endure -- two genres I'm sure McCarthy would prefer to keep at a distance from his work.

    Rabid Reads: "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

  • While you diligently pursued that favorite phantom of yours, called profits, and moralized about that favorite fetich of yours, called competition, even greater and more direful things have been accomplished by combination.

    Chapter 8: The Machine Breakers

  • The Road could be classified as science-fiction for the near-future setting and prophetic look of a world turned to ash, and it could be classified as horror for the suspense and direful moments the characters must endure -- two genres I'm sure McCarthy would prefer to keep at a distance from his work.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds in the air…

    The Haunted

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • One young fellow in a green box coat, addressed himself to these dumplings in a most direful manner.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 3

    July 23, 2008