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



Obsolete. a desperado.

Origin of desperate

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

Related forms

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

Can be confused

desperate 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 Forms

desperately, 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