Definition of desperado in US English:


nounPlural desperadoes, Plural desperados

  • A desperate or reckless person, especially a criminal.

    • ‘Local residents thought a band of desperadoes was being hunted down, but the reality was that they were conducting a purge of undesirables, drunks and criminal elements in preparation for the summer season.’
    • ‘The opening sequence features a blade being sharpened on stone, quickly cross-cutting to a chaotic chase in which a gang of desperadoes attempt to capture a rogue chicken.’
    • ‘A storm brings down Gary's aircraft in the desert where he is captured by a gang of desperados - remnants of the Angolan war.’
    • ‘That evening the camp of the fifteen college boys invited the desperados.’
    • ‘The joint was hopping with all kinds of low-lifes and desperados.’
    • ‘Any attempt to develop a de-escalation strategy with these desperados is senseless.’
    • ‘A couple of desperados like you two should be able to pull this off just fine,’ said Bill.’
    • ‘My guide tells me she has arranged more adventure activities, this time in the desert - and images of red canyons, towering rock formations and gangs of desperados comes to mind.’
    • ‘At the same time, he couldn't abide facile equations between criminal desperadoes and the legalized murder machinery of a state.’
    • ‘The game can be played from a number of perspectives including that of the Indians, Mexicans, Americans, or a gang of desperados.’
    • ‘This quantity of dangerous but potentially precious materials offers a temptation for adventurers and desperados,’ said the report.’
    • ‘When the sheriff's posse catches up with Roy's gang of desperados, the lawmen announce a $5,000 price on Roy's head.’
    • ‘His band of desperados specialized in looting feudal landlords and Mughal treasury.’
    • ‘Where other desperados took the money and ran, the Kelly gang, remarkably enough, turned bank robberies into weekend social events - occasions for improvised partying and propaganda.’
    • ‘This entertainment business has been there for several years now and has succeeded in attracting an array of alcoholics, drunks, gamblers, aggressive individuals and desperados of every description.’
    • ‘These chronicles became the handbook for future travellers and ironically, for gold prospectors and desperados planning quick gains.’
    • ‘The desperados collide with the drillers and a hostage situation takes shape but guns and threats aren't the only danger facing our heroes.’
    • ‘After creating a disturbance in the Shopping Center, two desperados were retrieved from the jungle by arresting officers.’
    • ‘The stickup caused Main Street to rumble with a shootout that had residents and law enforcement officials alike scrambling and trading shots with the desperadoes.’
    • ‘Soon, the desperados ' concerns of how and when to split the gold pale in comparison to the dire need to simply survive the strange inhabitants of this haunted mansion.’
    bandit, criminal, outlaw, renegade, marauder, raider, robber, lawbreaker, villain
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Early 17th century: pseudo-Spanish alteration of the obsolete noun desperate. Both desperate and desperado originally denoted a person in despair or in a desperate situation, hence someone made reckless by despair.