- reckless or dangerous because of despair, hopelessness, or urgency: a desperate killer.
- having an urgent need, desire, etc.: desperate for attention; desperate to find a job.
- leaving little or no hope; very serious or dangerous: a desperate illness.
- extremely bad; intolerable or shocking: clothes in desperate taste.
- extreme or excessive.
- making a final, ultimate effort; giving all: a desperate attempt to save a life.
- actuated by a feeling of hopelessness.
- having no hope; giving in to despair.
- Obsolete. a desperado.
- 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
early 15c., “despairing, hopeless,” from Latin desperatus “given up, despaired of,” past participle of desperare (see despair (v.)). Sense of “driven to recklessness” is from late 15c.; weakened sense of “having a great desire for” is from 1950s. Related: Desperately.