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dire (adj) terrible; very serious; dreadful.
Dire consequences are terrible consequences; a dire need is a very serious need; dire poverty is very serious poverty, too terrible to bear. Dire threats are serious warnings. Dire troubles are very serious troubles.
- The Bush administration did warn Saddam Hussein of dire consequences if he did not destroy weapons of mass destruction, and it carried out its threats and saw Saddam out of power.
- The people in the famine-affected areas are experiencing dire poverty. A number of starvation deaths and deaths due to exposure to cold have been reported over the past week.