Advertisement

desperate (adj.)

c. 1400, desperat, of persons, "despairing, hopeless" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin desperatus "given up, despaired of," past participle of desperare "to despair, to lose all hope," from de "without" (see de-) + sperare "to hope," from spes "hope" (from PIE root *spes- "prosperity;" see speed (n.)).

Of persons, "without care for safety, extremely rash, driven to recklessness by despair," from late 15c.; weakened sense of "having a great desire for" is from 1950s. Of conditions, "extremely serious," from 1550s. Of actions, "done or resorted to without regard for consequences," 1570s. Related: Desperately; desperateness.