- reckless or dangerous because of despair, hopelessness, or urgency: a desperate killer.
- having an urgent need, desire, etc.: desperate for attention; desperate to find a job.
- leaving little or no hope; very serious or dangerous: a desperate illness.
- extremely bad; intolerable or shocking: clothes in desperate taste.
- extreme or excessive.
- making a final, ultimate effort; giving all: a desperate attempt to save a life.
- actuated by a feeling of hopelessness.
- having no hope; giving in to despair.
- Obsolete. a desperado.
Origin of desperate
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsbadly, seriously, fiercely, greatly, dangerously, perilously, fearfully, shockingly, carelessly, dramatically, gravely, hysterically, appallingly
Examples from the Web for desperately
She seemed to create her own world and you desperately wanted to be part of it.Is Bigger Better for St. Vincent?
December 4, 2014
Their community, their city, their country, desperately needs them.Meet the Liberian Girls Beating Ebola
October 29, 2014
Her uniform—strapless white bra, blue jeans, suspenders, and fiery red mohawk—evokes the era of Desperately Seeking Susan.The Making of Kiesza: From Navy Sharpshooter to Beauty Queen to Pop Diva
October 20, 2014
Next, he took his efforts to the desperately poor, hungry regions of India and Pakistan.Growth Stocks
The Daily Beast
October 17, 2014
The McCanns say they are desperately worried about the safety of their nine-year old twins who are often subjects of online abuse.Outed Madeleine McCann Troll Kills Herself. But Millions Live On Online.
Barbie Latza Nadeau
October 6, 2014
"We'll get the best lawyers in the country," Mary persisted, desperately.Within the Law
"I've refused all these to Uncle Timothy; he's been worrying me with questions—" I said desperately.The Bacillus of Beauty
But he, having laughed at love all his life, loved her deeply, desperately.
She felt, desperately, that she could not let him go until he had had some real joy.
I want you to love me, love me desperately, the way I love you.The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
- 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
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.