desperate Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “desperate” in the English Dictionary

"desperate" in British English

See all translations

desperateadjective

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 ​medicalsupplies. very ​great or ​extreme: The ​earthquakesurvivors are in desperate need of ​help. He has a desperate ​desire to ​succeed.informal I'm in a desperate ​hurry.
More examples

desperate adjective (WANTING)

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

desperate adjective (RISKY)

B2 feeling that you have no ​hope and are ​ready to do anything to ​change the ​badsituation 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 ​growingdrugproblem. They made a desperate plea for ​help. willing to be ​violent, and ​thereforedangerous: This man is desperate and should not be ​approached since he may have a ​gun.
More examples
(Definition of desperate from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"desperate" in American English

See all translations

desperateadjective

 us   /ˈdes·pər·ət/

desperate adjective (RISKY)

showing a ​willingness to take any ​risk in ​order to ​change a ​bad or ​dangeroussituation: The ​ads are a desperate ​attempt to ​win last-minute ​votes. A desperate ​person is ​willing to take any ​measures and may be ​dangerous: desperate ​criminals

desperate adjective (SERIOUS)

very ​serious or ​dangerous: There’s a desperate ​shortage of ​medicalsupplies in the ​area. The ​earthquakesurvivors are in desperate need of ​help.

desperate adjective (IN NEED)

having a very ​great need: She was desperate for ​news of her ​family. I’m desperate for some ​coffee.
(Definition of desperate from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of desperate?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

autumnal

typical of autumn

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

parklet noun
parklet noun
August 31, 2015
a public outdoor space that may be associated with a local business but where anyone can sit Pop-up cafes in NY are what’s actually called parklets in many other places around the country.

Read More