Meaning of “desperately” in the English Dictionary

"desperately" in British English

See all translations


uk /ˈdes.pər.ə us /ˈdes.pɚ.ə

desperately adverb (TAKING RISKS)

B2 in a way that shows you are frightened and ready to try anything to change a situation:

They fought desperately for their lives.

More examples

  • Doctors tried desperately to reduce the swelling in her brain.
  • Blake looked ridiculous, and I tried desperately to keep a straight face.
  • The rescuers could hear the sound of the trapped people desperately trying to claw their way through the rubble.
  • The flood has left villagers and animals desperately scavenging for food.
  • He wanted that job desperately, and was devastated when he failed to get it.

(Definition of “desperately” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"desperately" in American English

See all translations


us /ˈdes·pər·ət·li/

extremely or very much:

For years they had desperately wanted a child.

(Definition of “desperately” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Need a translator?

Translator tool

Get a quick, free translation!