adjective, dir·er, dir·est.
causing or involving great fear or suffering; dreadful; terrible: a dire calamity.
indicating trouble, disaster, misfortune, or the like: dire predictions about the stock market.
urgent; desperate: in dire need of food.
Origin of dire
First recorded in 1560–70, dire is from the Latin word dīrus fearful, unluckyRelated formsdire·ly, adverbdire·ness, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for direness
Contemporary Examples of direness
British Dictionary definitions for direness
adjective (usually prenominal)
Derived Formsdirely, adverbdireness, noun
Also: direful disastrous; fearful
desperate; urgenta dire need
foreboding disaster; ominousa dire warning
Word Origin for dire
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
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Word Origin and History for direness
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-.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper