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dire

[dahyuh r]
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adjective, dir·er, dir·est.
  1. causing or involving great fear or suffering; dreadful; terrible: a dire calamity.
  2. indicating trouble, disaster, misfortune, or the like: dire predictions about the stock market.
  3. urgent; desperate: in dire need of food.
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Origin of dire

First recorded in 1560–70, dire is from the Latin word dīrus fearful, unlucky
Related formsdire·ly, adverbdire·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dire

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • To have married a girl who cared only for his money; that would have been dire enough.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The present, so, was more than any possible future, how dire soever it might be.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • We cheered, thinking some dire calamity had befallen the enemy.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • In fact, no word except that of dire disaster had come to hand.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • But it is a dire necessity, and it is impossible to avoid or to turn it.


British Dictionary definitions for dire

dire

adjective (usually prenominal)
  1. Also: direful disastrous; fearful
  2. desperate; urgenta dire need
  3. foreboding disaster; ominousa dire warning
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Derived Formsdirely, adverbdireness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin dīrus ominous, fearful; related to Greek deos fear
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 dire

adj.

1560s, from Latin dirus "fearful, awful, boding ill," of unknown origin; perhaps from Oscan and Umbrian and perhaps cognate with Greek deinos, from PIE root *dwei-.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper