adj. dir·er, dir·est
1. Warning of or having dreadful or terrible consequences; calamitous: a dire economic forecast; dire threats.
2. Urgent; desperate: in dire need; dire poverty.
[Latin dīrus, fearsome, terrible; akin to Greek deinos.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.