Definition of direful in English:



literary, archaic
  • Extremely bad; dreadful.

    • ‘From classical times, too, we have the phrase ‘deus ex machina’ to describe those dramas in which a hideously direful circumstance is abruptly set to rights through the intercession of some benevolent god or other.’
    • ‘Dark, direful clouds floated overhead, threatening to release a downpour of rain at any moment, so the park was void of visitors.’
    • ‘The resultant blur is an emblem of the paranoid experience, a concurrence of simultaneous direful events.’
    • ‘The war wages on and the winter is hard, but in these most direful moments I draw warmth from the fond memories I hold of you.’
    • ‘Indeed, he is reaching down to that best-known of lieder Schubert published as his Opus 1, and reanimating, in his kaleidoscopic way, the direful night-time gallop of a father and son pursued by a pure demonic force.’
    terrible, dreadful, appalling, frightful, awful, horrible, atrocious, grim, unspeakable, distressing, harrowing, alarming, shocking, outrageous
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Late 16th century: from dire + -ful.