Otherworldly Words: Dire

If you watch the news, you’re quite familiar with this word. many dire situations arise around the globe and dire predictions—from the stock market to the climate.

Dire derives from the Latin, meaning fearful or unlucky. I think the crux of the word is in those two words together: we are filled with fear about those things we feel are outside our control. We sense that bad luck or misfortune just follows some people or even ourselves at times.

The meaning of dire meaning urgent or desperate also provides the flip side to this word—how we react when someone is in dire need. Do we offer assistance or solace or do we turn a blind eye, glad that this calamity had its sights elsewhere?

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I enjoy this post. Thank you! I can add some more information to your definition:
    Dire [d_ˈaɪə], [dˈa͡ɪ͡ə], [dˈa‍ɪ‍ə]

    Definitions of dire:
    Ill- boding; portentous; as, dire omens.
    Dreadful: calamitous in a high degree.
    Dreadful; mournful; as, the dire news of an explosion.
    Extremely calamitous; dreadful; terrible.
    Dreadful; dismal; evil in a great degree; terrible; very calamitous.

    Antonyms for dire:
    cheery, promising, prosperous, undignified, joyous, safe, trivial, optimistic, soothing, paltry, heartwarming, lowly, bearable, relaxing, despicable, supportable, inviting, commonplace, unimportant…

    Quotes for dire:
    The White House has embarked on a mission to convince the people of our country that Social Security is in dire need of drastic change in order to save it for all workers.
    – Barbara Boxer
    Investment banking has, in recent years, resembled a casino, and the massive scale of gambling losses has dragged down traditional business and retail lending activities as banks try to rebuild their balance sheets. This was one aspect of modern financial liberalisation that had dire consequences.
    – Vince Cable

    Usage examples for dire:
    “ And so what will become of him; will he not fall into the most dire distress?” ”
    – Paris From the “Three Cities” by Emile Zola
    “ Was it possible that the horrors of a night in the vault had made such a dire impression upon me? ”
    – Vendetta A Story of One Forgotten by Marie Corelli
    “ They had been true friends to us in our dire necessity, and I returned their mute farewell from my very heart. ”
    – Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie

    Rhymes for dire:
    cryer, drier, dryer, dwire, dwyer, dyer, eir, eyer, fire, flier, flyer, friar, frier, fryer, gire, grier, gyr, hier, higher, hire, inspire, ire, liar, lyre, maguire, mcguire, mcgwire…

    Idioms for dire:
    ask for sth ( bad or dire)
    in dire straits;
    be in dire straits;

    More information on http://www.dictionary.net/dare

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