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1. Having lost all hope; despairing.
2. Marked by, arising from, or showing despair: the desperate look of hunger; a desperate cry for help.
3. Reckless or violent because of despair: a desperate criminal.
4. Undertaken out of extreme urgency or as a last resort: a desperate attempt to save the family business.
5. Nearly hopeless; critical: a desperate illness; a desperate situation.
6. Suffering or driven by great need or distress: desperate for recognition.
7. Extremely intense: felt a desperate urge to tell the truth.
[Middle English desperat, from Latin dēspērātus, past participle of dēspērāre, to despair; see despair.]