adjective, dir·er, dir·est.

  1. causing or involving great fear or suffering; dreadful; terrible: a dire calamity.
  2. indicating trouble, disaster, misfortune, or the like: dire predictions about the stock market.
  3. urgent; desperate: in dire need of food.

adjective (usually prenominal)

  1. Also: direful disastrous; fearful
  2. desperate; urgenta dire need
  3. foreboding disaster; ominousa dire warning

1560s, from Latin dirus “fearful, awful, boding ill,” of unknown origin; perhaps from Oscan and Umbrian and perhaps cognate with Greek deinos, from PIE root *dwei-.

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