Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: Latin
Origin: dirus

dire

adjective
     
dire
1 extremely serious or terrible:
warnings of dire consequences that often don't come true
The country is in dire need of food aid.
The situation looked dire.
2

be in dire straits

to be in an extremely difficult or serious situation:
Everyone agrees the sport is in dire straits.
3

dire warning/prediction/forecast

a warning about something terrible that will happen in the future:
Last night there were dire warnings of civil war.

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