Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “desperate”

desperate

adjective uk   /ˈdes.pər.ət/ us    /-pɚ-/

desperate adjective (SERIOUS)

C2 very serious or bad: desperate poverty a desperate shortage of food/supplies The situation is desperate - we have no food, very little water and no medical supplies. very great or extreme: The earthquake survivors are in desperate need of help. He has a desperate desire to succeed.informal I'm in a desperate hurry.

desperate adjective (WANTING)

B2 [usually after verb] needing or wanting something very much: They are desperate for help.humorous I'm desperate for a drink! [+ to infinitive] He was desperate to tell someone his good news.

desperate adjective (RISKY)

B2 feeling that you have no hope and are ready to do anything to change the bad situation you are in: The doctors made one last desperate attempt/effort to save the boy's life. Desperate measures are needed to deal with the growing drug problem. They made a desperate plea for help. willing to be violent, and therefore dangerous: This man is desperate and should not be approached as he may have a gun.
(Definition of desperate from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of desperate?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “desperate” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

look on the bright side

to find good things in a bad situation

Word of the Day

The language of work

by Kate Woodford,
October 15, 2014
Most of us talk about our jobs. We tell our family and friends interesting or funny things that have happened in the workplace (=room where we do our job), we describe – and sometimes complain about – our bosses and colleagues and when we meet someone for the first time, we tell

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More