[ des-per-it, -prit ]
/ ˈdɛs pər ɪt, -prɪt /



Obsolete. a desperado.

Nearby words

  1. despairingly,
  2. despatch,
  3. despeciation,
  4. despenser,
  5. desperado,
  6. desperately,
  7. desperation,
  8. despicable,
  9. despise,
  10. despite

Origin of desperate

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin dēspērātus, past participle of dēspērāre to despair; see -ate1

Related formsdes·per·ate·ly, adverbdes·per·ate·ness, nounqua·si-des·per·ate, adjectivequa·si-des·per·ate·ly, adverb

Can be confuseddesperate disparate

Synonym study

3. See hopeless. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for desperately

British Dictionary definitions for desperately


/ (ˈdɛspərɪt, -prɪt) /


careless of danger, as from despair; utterly reckless
(of an act) reckless; risky
used or undertaken in desperation or as a last resortdesperate measures
critical; very gravein desperate need
(often postpositive and foll by for) in distress and having a great need or desire
moved by or showing despair or hopelessness; despairing
Derived Formsdesperately, adverbdesperateness, noun

Word Origin for desperate

C15: from Latin dēspērāre to have no hope; see despair

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for desperately



early 15c., "despairing, hopeless," from Latin desperatus "given up, despaired of," past participle of desperare (see despair (v.)). Sense of "driven to recklessness" is from late 15c.; weakened sense of "having a great desire for" is from 1950s. Related: Desperately.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper