dire

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be in dire straits

To be in a very bleak or grim situation. All of those recent layoffs indicate that the company is in dire straits. I was in dire straits there for awhile, but I'm feeling much better after my hospital stay.
See also: dire, strait

in dire straits

Fig. in a very serious, bad circumstance. We are nearly broke and need money for medicine. We are in dire straits.
See also: dire, strait

in dire straits

in extreme danger or difficulty Officials in Washington say the peace process is in dire straits.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the forms dire economic straits or dire financial straits: He's been out of work for eight months, and his family is in dire financial straits.
See also: dire, strait

be in dire straits

to be in a very difficult or dangerous situation The earthquake and the war will leave the country in dire straits for a long time. They are in dire financial straits.
See also: dire, strait