Definition of desperation in US English:



  • A state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behavior.

    ‘she wrote to him in desperation’
    • ‘He is alone with his terrors gripped by feelings of desperation and living at the limits.’
    • ‘I know the torment you've been going through, as you seek the answer with ever more desperation.’
    • ‘The latest threats are acts of desperation born out of hatred and incompetence.’
    • ‘He also knows that his desperation to avoid defeat will not lessen with time.’
    • ‘What shocked the York soldiers was the poverty and desperation of the people.’
    • ‘Now it should lead the way in finding solutions to the problems that breed violence and desperation.’
    • ‘Still, where there is greed and desperation, charlatans and conners will prosper.’
    • ‘During his trial, he explained that he had been driven to desperation because of poverty.’
    • ‘You can see her desperation and fear for tomorrow etched in the worried lines of her face.’
    • ‘This would be an extreme act at one end of the spectrum of economic desperation.’
    • ‘Her story is one of poverty and desperation typical of a country that has known nothing but war for the past decade.’
    • ‘The result was a work of such desperation I feel morally obliged to give it coverage.’
    • ‘Through the syntax of misery and desperation shines no light, only more of the same.’
    • ‘The court heard the crime was born out of desperation over crippling financial pressure.’
    • ‘The film has a real apocalyptic feel to it, and the sense of doom and desperation is saturating this movie.’
    • ‘If it fails, it will seem like an act of desperation by a leader lacking serious military experience.’
    • ‘After that, the boat began drifting out to sea and it was then that desperation began to set in.’
    • ‘You are already teetering on the brink of desperation - this will just push you over the edge.’
    • ‘It signals desperation and a lack of confidence in those who look to the famous for guidance.’
    • ‘He had committed the crime out of desperation and a complete lack of judgement.’
    hopelessness, despair, distress
    recklessness, rashness, impetuosity, foolhardiness, riskiness, audacity, boldness, wildness, imprudence, injudiciousness
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Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin desperatio(n-), from the verb desperare (see despair).