Definition of Desperate

1. Noun. A person who is frightened and in need of help. "They prey on the hopes of the desperate"

Generic synonyms: Unfortunate, Unfortunate Person
Specialized synonyms: Goner, Toast
Derivative terms: Despair

2. Adjective. Arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope. "Her desperate screams"
Exact synonyms: Despairing
Similar to: Hopeless

3. Adjective. Desperately determined. "A do-or-die conflict"
Exact synonyms: Do-or-die
Similar to: Resolute

4. Adjective. (of persons) dangerously reckless or violent as from urgency or despair. "Taken hostage of desperate men"
Similar to: Dangerous, Unsafe

5. Adjective. Showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation as a last resort. "They took heroic measures to save his life"
Exact synonyms: Heroic
Similar to: Brave, Courageous

6. Adjective. Showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire. "A desperate need for recognition"
Similar to: Imperative

7. Adjective. Fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless. "A dire emergency"
Exact synonyms: Dire
Similar to: Critical

Definition of Desperate

1. a. Without hope; given to despair; hopeless.

2. n. One desperate or hopeless.

Definition of Desperate

1. Adjective. Being filled with, or in a state of despair; hopeless. ¹

2. Adjective. Reckless abandon in the pursuit of an extreme desire. ¹

3. Adjective. Extremely intense. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Desperate

1. [adj]

Medical Definition of Desperate

1. 1. Without hope; given to despair; hopeless. "I am desperate of obtaining her." (Shak) 2. Beyond hope; causing despair; extremely perilous; irretrievable; past cure, or, at least, extremely dangerous; as, a desperate disease; desperate fortune. 3. Proceeding from, or suggested by, despair; without regard to danger or safety; reckless; furious; as, a desperate effort. "Desperate expedients." 4. Extreme, in a bad sense; outrageous; used to mark the extreme predominance of a bad quality. "A desperate offendress against nature." (Shak) "The most desperate of reprobates." (Macaulay) Synonym: Hopeless, despairing, desponding, rash, headlong, precipitate, irretrievable, irrecoverable, forlorn, mad, furious, frantic. Origin: L. Desperatus, p. P. Of desperare. See Despair, and cf. Desperado. Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Desperate Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Desperate

desperate (current term)
desperate criminal
desperate measure
desperate straits
desperate times call for desperate measures
desperate times require desperate measures

Literary usage of Desperate

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Dictionary of National Biography by LESLIE. STEPHEN (1887)
"... it is a horrible mode of warfare, and the attempt hazardous if not desperate.' Cochrane was pressed to give his opinion on this matter. ..."

2. A Short History of the English People by John Richard Green (1884)
"But the Whig leaders, who had delayed to answer the Earl's call, still nursed projects of rising in arms; and the more desperate spirits who had clustered ..."

3. The American Journal of International Law by American Society of International Law (1918)
"These refugees who are arriving in large numbers are in a desperate condition on account of privations. It is said that in the registers of Drama alone ..."

4. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (1917)
"CHAPTER XA desperate ATTEMPT AT PERSUASION The next morning, at the time when the height of the sun appeared very insignificant from any part of the heath ..."

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