Definition of desperately in US English:



  • 1In a way that shows despair.

    ‘he looked around desperately’
    • ‘The resulting chase took us all the way back to the car, panting desperately.’
    • ‘He desperately tried to get control of the car but crashed into a lamppost.’
    • ‘Kane has been desperately attempting to track down Gavin, but has had absolutely no success.’
    • ‘I've been struggling on in multiple jumpers and shirts desperately trying to keep warm.’
    • ‘He tells her that he is desperately unhappy and that his marriage is over.’
    • ‘It was full of people who, for two reasons, were desperately ill-equipped to come here.’
    • ‘Rescue workers battled desperately to save a cow which had fallen into a stretch of the River.’
    • ‘She was desperately trying to maintain a family life and progress her career.’
    • ‘But she has not seen her son since and now she is desperately pleading for him to make contact.’
    • ‘Fran added that Mark had to go through so much in his desperately short life that his death was a release for him.’
    • ‘Workers are now desperately searching for the female deer, who they believe is still at large.’
    • ‘Back in the wheelhouse he was confronted by the huge ship and desperately tried to swing the wheel to head away.’
    • ‘Josh's fists were a blur as he tried desperately to defeat Kevin's iron defense.’
    • ‘They waved and banged on the window, trying desperately to get some reaction from us, or to throw us off.’
    • ‘We all feel desperately for a little girl who has lost both parents in such grim and public circumstances.’
    • ‘She stared so boldly and so forlornly and so desperately that her heart could have done her talking for her.’
    • ‘But, at the beginning of the week she was at her wits end desperately trying to save the club.’
    • ‘When militias attacked her village the young mother ran desperately for her life.’
    • ‘Both the Metropolitan Police and his family are now desperately concerned for his safety.’
    • ‘He was found trapped by a workmate who desperately tried to revive him before paramedics arrived.’
    in desperation, in despair, despairingly, in anguish, in distress
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    1. 1.1 Used to emphasize the extreme degree of something.
      ‘he desperately needed a drink’
      as submodifier ‘I am desperately disappointed’
      • ‘He desperately needs to strengthen the side but has been told to cut costs.’
      • ‘The Irish province have come desperately close in the past, competing in two of the last six finals.’
      • ‘I'll know where to come on a cold winter's night when I desperately need warming up.’
      • ‘We desperately need a similar increase in measures to deter the thieves, the robbers and the yobs.’
      • ‘We desperately need more clinics for treating people and educating them about the dangers.’
      • ‘The man, who has worked at the lake for five years, said the site desperately needs a clean-up.’
      • ‘Nothing has changed apart from now, if I need a player desperately, then we can do something.’
      • ‘It is desperately disappointing to win so much primary possession and then not to be able to hold on to it.’
      • ‘Jodie desperately wants to be famous, but all she ever does is complain about how she's treated.’
      • ‘The critics had been savage and he desperately needed a change of scene.’
      • ‘Within a week he was desperately poorly again, and this time did not recover.’
      • ‘Some thriller writers, he admits, do desperately want to be taken seriously, but not him.’
      • ‘Modern Britain desperately needs modern railways, run by professionals who care.’
      • ‘We desperately need age, experience and character on the backbenches of our parliament.’
      • ‘There are lots of other facilities that could desperately do with the cash.’
      • ‘Pretending he is a songwriting genius, however, is desperately wide of the mark.’
      • ‘The incident has left her extremely shaken and we desperately would like to catch this man.’
      • ‘I am desperately heartbroken for all the people involved in this terrible tragedy.’
      • ‘It was a desperately disappointing championship for the conglomerate of Scots.’
      • ‘The only option that comes to mind is a desperately unoriginal one - the dreaded book token.’
      seriously, gravely, severely, critically, acutely, dangerously, perilously, hazardously, precariously
      urgently, pressingly, intensely, with urgency, eagerly
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