Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


adj. dir·er, dir·est
1. Warning of or having dreadful or terrible consequences; calamitous: a dire economic forecast; dire threats.
2. Urgent; desperate: in dire need; dire poverty.

[Latin dīrus, fearsome, terrible; akin to Greek deinos.]

dire′ly adv.
dire′ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Realizing the direness of Clarita's case, a deeply alarmed Mayor Lacson (Nonie Buencamino) turn to priests, Father Salvador (Ricky Davao) and the cynical Father Benedicto (Arron Villaflor), who are tasked to exorcise the demon inside Clarita.
As we try to grasp the meanings encoded in all she says to Coverdale in this, her final, scene, we need to remember that the direness of her situation goes far to account for "the strange way in which her mind seemed to vibrate from the deepest earnest to mere levity" (3: 226).
Sherry has been updated from the 28-year-old Charlotte Lucas to a 40-year-old middle-class, single woman who has recently learned that she cannot have children, to underline the direness of her situation.
Cubitt may not show us a clear path out of the current unsustainable impasse between the appetites of capital and the health of the planet, including its humanity, but he surely demonstrates the direness of this juncture and the urgency of forging that path.
The physician was trying to communicate the direness of the situation.
I have supped full with horrors; Direness familiar to my slaughterous thoughts Cannot once start me.
In terms of further bias that the SIS rebutted against, the report mentioned that Guerin's video and photos only showed the parts of Egypt that strike a message of poverty and direness, in a manner that generalized the image of Egypt thusly.
Iran's leaders must realize the direness of their conditions.
Lastly, it is and politicians must show direness in field of promoting the economics of Pakistan better and the poor must not suffer.
It's easy to be cynical and say feeling superior to other nations (especially about football), whining about the mythical good old days (especially telly), accepting education and class systems that allow the families with the most money to succeed and obsessing on the direness of our diet, transport and Bank Holidays.
The placement and construction of the cabin are the first hints at the direness of the situation.