[dahyuh r]

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, unlucky
Related formsdire·ly, adverbdire·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for direst

Contemporary Examples of direst

Historical Examples of direst

  • She looked like a culprit whom direst vengeance had overtaken at last.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • Then there happened that which fulfilled my direst premonitions.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • No person, even in the direst straits, is anxious to incur a violent death.

    The Fiery Totem

    Argyll Saxby

  • Remember that the neglect of justice brings with it the direst retribution.

  • India, with poverty, is the direst of all penal settlements.

    A Rent In A Cloud

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for direst


adjective (usually prenominal)

Also: direful disastrous; fearful
desperate; urgenta dire need
foreboding disaster; ominousa dire warning
Derived Formsdirely, adverbdireness, noun

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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for direst



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