Definition of dire in US English:

dire

adjective

  • 1(of a situation or event) extremely serious or urgent.

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

Origin

Mid 16th century: from Latin dirus ‘fearful, threatening’.

Pronunciation

dire

/ˈdaɪ(ə)r//ˈdī(ə)r/