desperate straits

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Noun1.desperate straits - a state of extreme distress
straits, strait, pass - a bad or difficult situation or state of affairs
References in classic literature ?
Panic seized him and, putting aside his pride, he wrote again to the Vicar of Blackstable, placing the case before him more urgently; but perhaps he did not explain himself properly and his uncle did not realise in what desperate straits he was, for he answered that he could not change his mind; Philip was twenty-five and really ought to be earning his living.
All public utterances were cheery and optimistic, but privately many of the utters were in desperate straits.
Finishing my man with almost no effort, as had now from much practice become habitual with me, I hastened to return to my new acquaintance whom I found indeed in desperate straits.
I am, I know, either being deceived, like a baby, by my own fears, or else I am in desperate straits, and if the latter be so, I need, and shall need, all my brains to get through.
There are close to 20 million Yemenis in desperate straits and in immediate need of humanitarian relief.
Such a scheme could also take hold, as the word spreads and as it offers a constructive way for people to show how keen they are to help those in desperate straits.
Here the director takes up the newspaper saga of Caterina Rigoglioso, a single mother who fell into such desperate straits that she abandoned her infant son in a public park and was promptly arrested when she tried to reclaim him.
With 30 minutes to go they were in desperate straits.
but some people are in such desperate straits - they've got kids - that you have got to persuade them it's the right thing to do.
I think that HS2 is a criminal waste of money in times of austerity, when our NHS service is in such desperate straits due to PSshortage of cash, that more than PS50 billion is going to be spent on a project that will benefit a relatively few.
The patriot cause seemed in desperate straits but when Edward died, almost literally in the saddle at Burgh-on-Sands in 1307, the warriorking's death proved a game changer.
There are many people in desperate straits in this country and their benefits barely cover the cost of heating and eating, which means the use of a phone or computer becomes an unaffordable luxury.