• Cassim leans against the door and tries desperately to recall the word
    Cassim leans against the door and tries desperately to recall the word
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj desperate showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation as a last resort "made a last desperate attempt to reach the climber","the desperate gallantry of our naval task forces marked the turning point in the Pacific war"- G.C.Marshall","they took heroic measures to save his life"
    • adj desperate fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless "a desperate illness","on all fronts the Allies were in a desperate situation due to lack of materiel"- G.C.Marshall","a dire emergency"
    • adj desperate showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire "felt a desperate urge to confess","a desperate need for recognition"
    • adj desperate arising from or marked by despair or loss of hope "a despairing view of the world situation","the last despairing plea of the condemned criminal","a desperate cry for help","helpless and desperate--as if at the end of his tether","her desperate screams"
    • adj desperate desperately determined "do-or-die revolutionaries","a do-or-die conflict"
    • adj desperate (of persons) dangerously reckless or violent as from urgency or despair "a desperate criminal","taken hostage of desperate men"
    • n desperate a person who is frightened and in need of help "they prey on the hopes of the desperate"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Both felt desperately uncomfortable Both felt desperately uncomfortable

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan once wore a Nazi uniform while acting in a film during his Hollywood days. The name of the movie was "Desperate Journey," which was filmed in 1942
    • Desperate Beyond hope; causing despair; extremely perilous; irretrievable; past cure, or, at least, extremely dangerous; as, a desperate disease; desperate fortune.
    • Desperate Extreme, in a bad sense; outrageous; -- used to mark the extreme predominance of a bad quality. "A desperate offendress against nature.""The most desperate of reprobates."
    • n Desperate One desperate or hopeless.
    • Desperate Proceeding from, or suggested by, despair; without regard to danger or safety; reckless; furious; as, a desperate effort. "Desperate expedients."
    • Desperate Without hope; given to despair; hopeless. "I am desperate of obtaining her."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • desperate Having no hope; hopeless; despairing.
    • desperate Without care for safety; extremely rash; reckless from despair, passion, or ferocity: as, a desperate man.
    • desperate Done or resorted to without regard to consequences, or in the last extremity; showing despair or recklessness; extremely hazardous: as, a desperate undertaking; desperate remedies.
    • desperate Beyond hope of recovery; irretrievable; irremediable; hopeless: as, desperate fortunes; a desperate situation or condition.
    • desperate Such as to be despaired of; extremely difficult to do, manage, cure, or reclaim.
    • desperate Synonyms and Headlong, violent, mad, wild, furious, frantic.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Desperate des′pėr-āt in a state of despair: hopeless: beyond hope: fearless of danger: rash: furious
    • ***


  • William S. Burroughs
    “Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”
  • Benjamin Disraeli
    “Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius.”
  • Henry David Thoreau
    “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
  • Robert Burn
    Robert Burn
    “When matters are desperate we must put on a desperate face.”
  • William Blake
    “All futurity seems teeming with endless destruction never to be repelled; Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage.”
  • William Feather
    “Some of us might find happiness if we quit struggling so desperately for it.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. desperatus, p. p. of desperare,. See Despair, and cf. Desperado
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
See Despair.


In literature:

Meantime the pursued had turned desperately and dodged into the millinery store whence Judith Barrier had emerged a little earlier.
"Judith of the Cumberlands" by Alice MacGowan
At the fourth fort desperate resistance was encountered.
"A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year" by Edwin Emerson
The little abbe is desperately angry, and intends taking ample vengeance.
"My Sword's My Fortune" by Herbert Hayens
The echoing war-whoop sounds the final advance, and the revolvers of those two desperate defenders crack and crack again.
"The Watchers of the Plains" by Ridgewell Cullum
I'm desperately in need of money.
"Baseball Joe in the Big League" by Lester Chadwick
The poor fellow grew desperate, and said it was a bad omen.
"The True Story Book"
In my desperate efforts I tried to paddle with my hands, but, of course, it was utterly useless.
"The Cryptogram" by James De Mille
Simon is desperately determined that the alliance of Tartars and Christians succeed.
"The Saracen: The Holy War" by Robert Shea
However, knowing that presently they must espy his jennet tethered by the road, Robin became desperate.
"Robin Hood" by Paul Creswick
We scored a goal from the field, and although the 'Greys' fought desperately, we seemed to have their number.
"Bert Wilson on the Gridiron" by J. W. Duffield

In poetry:

Too long, alas, too long
My patient heart endures
This deep and desperate wrong—
To walk on fallen ways afar from yours.
"De Profundis" by Clark Ashton Smith
For life seems only a shuddering breath,
A smothered, desperate cry,
And things have a terrible permanence
When people die.
"Things" by Aline Murray Kilmer
Desperate, as his terror rise,
In the steed the spur he hides;
From himself in vain he flies;
Anxious, restless, on he rides.
"Frederick and Alice" by Sir Walter Scott
On a desperate stair my feet have trod
Armoured with boundless peace,
Bringing the fires of the splendour of God
Into the human abyss.
"A God's Labour" by Aurobindo Ghose
“I will not give it to you," said she,
And wept full many a tear.
And all the souls that her burden made
Cried out in desperate fear.
"The Woman Who Went To Hell [An Irish Legend]" by Dora Sigerson Shorter
'But is it right! When I only gave
My hand to you in a sweat to save,
Through desperate need
(As I thought), my fame, for I was not brave!'
"A Conversation At Dawn" by Thomas Hardy

In news:

The St Louis Cardinals, desperate for home-run power after their worst start in 15 years, traded Tommy Herr to the Minnesota Twins tonight for Tom Brunansky.
Matt Moran's desperate punk hollers.
The 36-year-old blonde was pictured stumbling off the luxury yacht, Lady Joy, after attending a party hosted by former Desperate Housewife, Eva Longoria.
Samuel Beckett sets " Waiting for Godot" on a country road where two tramps desperately await someone or something that never comes.
Christopher Michael is desperate to get his story out, because he wants to make sure nobody else has to live it.
There wasn't a whole lot that was artistic about it, but when you're 3-6 and desperate for a victory, style points don't matter.
The phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) -- in which disoriented honeybees die far from their hives -- has kept scientists, beekeepers, and regulators desperately seeking the cause.
Matt Cassel (5-6, 67 yards and a TD pass) looked sharp in the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-17 preseason win Friday night over a Cardinals' team that desperately needs a calming presence under center.
'Desperate Housewives' Jury ' Hopelessly Deadlocked on a Verdict'.
The jury in the Desperate Housewives wrongful termination trial is " hopelessly deadlocked on a verdict," the judge said Friday.
There is growing desperation in the Horn of Africa amid drought and famine.
The journalists covering the shipboard meeting on the environmental problems of the Baltic Sea were desperate.
Nicollette Sheridan testifies 'Desperate Housewives' creator struck her during scene, humiliated her.
Melissa, a young mother of three children, desperately wanted to obtain her GED.
Protests, Self- Immolation Signs Of A Desperate Tibet.

In science:

In order to properly address this important issue, an automated bubble detection tool is desperately needed.
Constraining the Nature of X-ray Cavities in Clusters and Galaxies
Our experience suggests that many practitioners of scientific computing view randomized algorithms as a desperate and final resort.
Finding structure with randomness: Probabilistic algorithms for constructing approximate matrix decompositions
For example, a recent review of coupling randomized low-rank matrix approximation algorithms with traditional NLA methods starts with the following observation. “Our experience suggests that many practitioners of scientific computing view randomized algorithms as a desperate and final resort.
Randomized algorithms for matrices and data
Quantum theory of strongly correlated fermions has long been in a rather desperate need for non-perturbative techniques, the use of which could allow one to proceed beyond the customary (and often uncontrollable in the regime of interest) approximations when analyzing generic (non-integrable) systems.
Searching for non-Fermi liquids under holographic light
This is relatively easy if G is the cubic lattice Zd but it may be a desperate task for general graphs.
Percolation on infinite graphs and isoperimetric inequalities