• synonyms


[dahyuh r]
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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for direr

Historical Examples

  • The second visit was the more dangerous, and fraught with direr consequences.

    Three People


  • There is no direr disaster in love than the death of imagination.

  • There would be direr, slower vengeance wreaked on them than on the alien British.

    Told in the East

    Talbot Mundy

  • Never shall any weapon of leafy wood crush the Goths with direr augury.

    The Danish History, Books I-IX

    Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")

  • With his direr passions had been roused up all the native powers that made them doubly dangerous.

    My Novel, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for direr


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 direr



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