Definition of dire in English:



  • 1Extremely serious or urgent.

    ‘misuse of drugs can have dire consequences’
    ‘he was in dire need of help’
    • ‘People are very reluctant to accept pay cuts, even when the company is in pretty dire straits.’
    • ‘The situation isn't so dire in Northeast Asia, especially in booming China.’
    • ‘He also warned the government of dire consequences if the administration tried to stop either of the batches.’
    • ‘She would have laughed if the situation hadn't been so dire.’
    • ‘I knew if we continued to roll until we were inverted, our situation would become dire.’
    • ‘But even less dire circumstances can warrant a second look.’
    • ‘"In this village most families are in dire poverty, " he said.’
    • ‘I choked helplessly as the need for air became dire.’
    • ‘"The situation is pretty dire, " said Thomas.’
    • ‘Our Christmas dinner was immensely enjoyed by all, despite the dire shortage of drinks.’
    • ‘As winter sets in, as many as 5 million face dire food shortages.’
    • ‘Discussion then moved on to other potential candidates in similar dire need of counselling.’
    • ‘But Wisconsin is arguably in the most dire straits.’
    • ‘Reality is never messed with for long without the most dire, most immediate consequences.’
    • ‘The resulting funding slowdown comes as Michigan schools are in dire need of repair.’
    • ‘Neglect of the physical constraints of holiness could be punished with the most dire consequences.’
    • ‘Today, ten years later, the situation is just as dire, especially in rural areas.’
    • ‘The lessons appear clear: engage the moderates or the consequences could be dire.’
    • ‘There are others though who, not only cannot do this, but are in fact in very dire circumstances.’
    • ‘The situation won't be nearly as dire if the astronauts manage to get their main oxygen generator working again.’
    urgent, desperate, pressing, crying, sore, grave, serious, extreme, acute, drastic
    terrible, dreadful, appalling, frightful, awful, horrible, atrocious, grim, unspeakable, distressing, harrowing, alarming, shocking, outrageous
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    1. 1.1(of a warning or threat) presaging disaster.
      ‘there were dire warnings from the traffic organizations’
      • ‘Liberal activists responded with dire warnings that America was in danger of being hijacked by the religious right.’
      • ‘There were dire warnings of an ecological disaster and world oil prices through the roof as the Iraqis set fire to the oil fields.’
      • ‘Thus, the dire warnings offered by the commissioners were certainly not new to their audiences.’
      • ‘In the margins other authors leave their marks, comments, and dire warnings.’
      • ‘Inevitably, this prompted more dire warnings about dwindling jobs in the fishing industry yesterday.’
      • ‘For a country already stricken by fear of anthrax attacks, this dire warning could not do much more to concentrate their minds.’
      • ‘Ever more dire warnings of impending atrocities were appearing in the press from ' behind the scenes' sources.’
      • ‘Are these dire warnings perhaps just a little exaggerated?’
      • ‘Driving into the office he listened to the radio and heard dire warnings about increased security.’
      • ‘The State Department has issued dire warnings with threats of tens of thousands of dollars in fines.’
      • ‘There was no mention of the Government's dire warnings of the increasing financial burden of our ageing population.’
      • ‘Some people have been making some pretty dire predictions about the depletion of oil reserves recently.’
      • ‘Here's to dire warnings, unsubstantiated threats and looking over our shoulders.’
      • ‘This might be a dire warning but I cannot do it to anyone.’
      • ‘ING Barings widened the dire predictions to stg £264 million on September 17.’
      • ‘Even before the attacks, aid agencies issued dire warnings that Afghanistan was heading for disaster.’
      • ‘Increasingly dire warnings suggest that the trendy toothfish has become too popular for its own good.’
      • ‘In the latter category is a piece about green potatoes, offering dire warnings against eating them.’
      • ‘We are continually reminded about how vulnerable children are - with every festivity being accompanied by dire warnings.’
      • ‘After considering the White House's latest policy proposals, some top economists are making very dire predictions indeed.’
      ominous, portentous, gloomy, doom and gloom, sinister
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  • 2British informal Of a very poor quality.

    ‘the concert was dire’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the look is garish and the build quality dire.’
    • ‘Worst of all was the sound quality, which was just dire, and detracted from the event considerably.’
    • ‘This coincided with his appearance in the movie, a fact that overrode the track's dire, insipid quality.’
    • ‘Yet, it was dire, dismal, as dreary as the grey mist that enveloped the new stadium for the duration of the game.’
    • ‘The second period wasn't dire in comparison to the first, but the game was in danger of dying a death after the interval.’
    substandard, below standard, below par, bad, deficient, defective, faulty, imperfect, inferior, mediocre
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Mid 16th century: from Latin dirus fearful, threatening.