American English

Definition of desperate adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//ˈdɛspərət//
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  1. 1feeling or showing that you have little hope and are ready to do anything without worrying about danger to yourself or others The prisoners grew increasingly desperate. Stores are getting desperate after two years of poor sales. Somewhere out there was a desperate man, cold, hungry, hunted. I heard sounds of a desperate struggle in the next room.
  2. 2[usually before noun] (of an action) giving little hope of success; tried when everything else has failed a desperate bid for freedom She clung to the edge in a desperate attempt to save herself. His increasing financial difficulties forced him to take desperate measures. Doctors were fighting a desperate battle to save the little girl's life.
  3. 3[not usually before noun] needing or wanting something very much desperate (for something) He was so desperate for a job he would have done anything. (informal) I'm desperate for a cigarette. desperate (to do something) I was absolutely desperate to see her.
  4. 4(of a situation) extremely serious or dangerous The children are in desperate need of love and attention. They face a desperate shortage of clean water.
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adverb desperately ill/unhappy/lonely He took a deep breath, desperately trying to keep calm. They desperately wanted a child. She looked desperately around for a weapon.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: desperate

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