Learner's definition of DESPERATE
[more desperate; most desperate]
1 : very sad and upset because of having little or no hope: feeling or showing despair
The collapse of her business had made her desperate.
As the supply of food ran out, people became desperate.
We could hear their desperate cries for help.
a desperate phone call
2 : very bad or difficult to deal with
The building is in desperate [=terrible, awful] shape and may have to be demolished.
desperate [=hopeless] situations
The outlook was desperate.
3 : done with all of your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding
a desperate struggle to defeat the enemy
He made a desperate bid/attempt to save his job.
They made one last desperate attempt to fight their way out.
4 : having a strong need or desire for something or to do something
He is desperate for money/attention/work.
After traveling all night, they were desperate for sleep.
She was desperate to prove that she was right.
5 : very severe or strong
The animals were in desperate need of food and water when they were found.
a desperate shortage of medical supplies
The situation called for desperate measures.