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 a while, but I'm feeling much better after my hospital stay.
See also: dire, strait

in dire straits

In a very bleak or grim situation. The recent nosedive in the stock market has left many companies in dire straits. I was in dire straits there for a while, but I'm feeling much better after my hospital stay.
See also: dire, strait
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dire straits, in

In an awful situation, terrible circumstances. The adjective “dire,” which dates from the mid-1500s, is rarely heard today except in this cliché and one other phrase, dire necessity, which uses it more or less hyperbolically (as, for example, in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 1836 letter, “The dire necessity of having every window in the house open . . .”). In contrast, the cliché describes a genuine difficulty or danger, as in “The stock-market crash left him in dire straits financially.” Also the name of a British rock band active from 1977 to 1995.
See also: dire
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The direness of the current situation results from the speed at which the world's languages are being lost.
In fact, in this follow up essay to his "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution," 1959, Snow stresses the direness of the polarized situation between the "two cultures." He emphasizes the necessity of fostering communication, the dangers of this polarization to life on a global scale as, Snow states, "...
In her field notes, Melanie Light remarked that life in West Virginia had always seemed hard and that the very direness of the photographic images, which might easily have come from another impoverished country, initially made it difficult for her to get her heart and head involved in the project.
22 piece in the British Guardian - "It Can Only Get Worse" - revealed most devastating statistics regarding the direness of the Palestinian economy.
(3) </pre> <p>Being a young western volunteer in this refugee/migrant community involves both exposure to a wealth of rich and warm intercultural experiences and a growing consciousness of the quantity and direness of the children's needs and of the absence of clear solutions.
But the device is more commonly used for humorous effect rather than for such solemn purposes as intensifying the direness of dealings among the Soviet nomenklatura.
No rational person can claim that they are unaware of the evils of tobacco and even many hardened smokers approve of the Government's attempts to discourage smoking and prevent youngsters from taking it up ( although, like most of the adult indulgences that children are warned against, its glamour increases in proportion to the direness of the message.
A: I have supp'd full with horrors; Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, cannot once start me.
There is a kind of direness in sexual conjunction: desire, desperation, gratitude, self-transcendence or self-disgust, yearning for pregnancy or grim determination to avoid it, the incandescence and the temporality of joy.
Nancy Reagan, inspired by the direness of Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's, has been reported using her political influence to convince the current president to reverse himself.
There can't bemany dates in the history of Scottish football when Cowdenbeathwere in the top league and Rangers Despair If the award goes to the Old Firm club which has made the most consistent contribution to direness there can beno doubt it's Celtic.
Readers of this column will remember my weakness for reality TV of all levels of direness. But I don't think even I would tune in for Channel 4's new cult programme How Clean is Your House.
Although the direness of the situation was likely overstated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Harold Macmillan (and possibly to personal ends), (88) the weight of world and party opinion, and the bizarre spectacle of the United States and the Soviet Union both arrayed against him, was eventually too much to bear.
The mawkish tale of young footballers caught in the sectarian divide of the Irish troubles, it's a piece of work possessing a value only eclipsed by the direness of its songs.
(Oh, yes, the farting: so it's Rabelaisian farce in which the direness of dire straights trembles on the border that separates hilarity from pathos.