adjective, dir·er, dir·est.
- causing or involving great fear or suffering; dreadful; terrible: a dire calamity.
- indicating trouble, disaster, misfortune, or the like: dire predictions about the stock market.
- urgent; desperate: in dire need of food.
adjective (usually prenominal)
- Also: direful disastrous; fearful
- desperate; urgenta dire need
- 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-.