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Desperate straits   /dˈɛsprɪt streɪts/   Listen
Desperate straits

A state of extreme distress.  Synonym: dire straits.

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"Desperate straits" Quotes from Famous Books

... Marquis de Valorsay. This marriage was Valorsay's only resource—the plank that might save the drowning man. People fancy he is rich; but he is ruined. Yes, ruined completely, irretrievably. He was in such desperate straits that he had almost determined to blow his brains out before the hope of ...
— Baron Trigault's Vengeance - Volume 2 (of 2) • Emile Gaboriau

... refugees, a hundred thousand of them are in desperate straits. They cannot live in Constantinople, and they cannot get away. It is a death-trap for them. For the women it is a trap far worse than death. They are unpopular people in Europe now—the gentry of Russia, ...
— Europe—Whither Bound? - Being Letters of Travel from the Capitals of Europe in the Year 1921 • Stephen Graham

... King. He knew that he was in desperate straits, that he had one chance in a million to escape, and yet he found himself held by the spell of those eyes, drinking in certain ...
— Truxton King - A Story of Graustark • George Barr McCutcheon

... was in desperate straits. The estate to which he had succeeded at the age of ten had been administered during his minority by a fraudulent executor, who had absconded to South America with his ill-gotten wealth. Matters had since gone steadily from bad to worse, ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, August 26th, 1914 • Various

... of the house, he had not the faintest purpose of doing anything with it. He did not believe that he had any real grievance. But it gratified him to feel like a desperate man. He had got into the habit of seeing himself always in desperate straits. His unhappy temperament was like a cage; he could never get out of it; and he felt that other people, his wife in particular, must have put him there. It had never more than dimly occurred to Frank that he made his own unhappiness. Though he took up his gun with ...
— O Pioneers! • Willa Cather

... laugh at damages, while the proletarian would have to make good a sentence of 1000 lire by 100 days in prison, and in the meantime the innocent family that tearfully waits for him outside, would be plunged into desperate straits. Compensation for damages should never take place in any other way than by means of the labor of the prisoner to an extent satisfactory to the family of the injured. It has been attempted to place this in an eclectic way on our law books, but this proposition remains a dead letter and is not applied ...
— The Positive School of Criminology - Three Lectures Given at the University of Naples, Italy on April 22, 23 and 24, 1901 • Enrico Ferri

... this case "in detail" in order to show to what desperate straits a hopeless theory may reduce a great thinker. To suppose that in this "utterly barbarous tribe" the looks of the race can be gradually improved by the women accepting only those males who "excite or charm them most" is ...
— Primitive Love and Love-Stories • Henry Theophilus Finck

... uncoupled. Then he understood, and smiled excitedly. And then, as Fogg reached under his seat, pulled out a great bundle of waste and two oil cans, and flung them into the furnace, he realized the desperate straits at which they had arrived and their ...
— Ralph on the Overland Express - The Trials and Triumphs of a Young Engineer • Allen Chapman

... the stenographer as being in desperate straits, and ready to accept any job that could be found, but though his appearance might have seemed to corroborate her account, he evidently took a less hopeless view of his case, and the Governor found with surprise that he ...
— The Hermit and the Wild Woman and Other Stories • Edith Wharton

... time, but broke straightway of itself. The wind and the sea cast us as the wave receded upon a little rock, and we awaited only the moment to see our barque break up, and to save ourselves, if possible, upon its fragments. In these desperate straits, after we had received several waves, there came one so large and fortunate for us that it carried us over the rock, and threw us on to a little sandy beach, which insured us for ...
— Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Vol. 2 • Samuel de Champlain

... difficulty in divining the cause of the former's distress. It was too apparent to him that his empire was in desperate straits; that as St. Romain underwent its daily reduction so his remnant of State and power declined. And beholding the dissolution was very like being an enforced witness of his ...
— The Prince of India - Or - Why Constantinople Fell - Volume 2 • Lew. Wallace

... nothing of the judgments or mercy of God, and who could neither pray nor sing, only had learned in these desperate straits to grow strong and happy in the touch of sun and wind, and to hold out its arms to friend or foe, slave or savage, sure of a welcome, and so came closer to God than ...
— Stories of Childhood • Various

... humble applicant for crumbs. She might put up with slices where she could not get the whole loaf, but her head lifted itself at the notion of crumbs. Her heart had not yet begun to ache. She determined that it should not until it was in far more desperate straits than now. When Lady Mary Montgomery, who was tired and wanted a long rest before December, invited her to go to California, she accepted at once; and, a week after the adjournment of Congress, went ...
— Senator North • Gertrude Atherton

... continued to happen, fell into desperate straits: none of his allies rendered him assistance, for his opponents met and annihilated[69] them as fast as they heard that each one was approaching, and it was with difficulty that he managed to obtain provisions, inasmuch as he was in a hostile ...
— Dio's Rome • Cassius Dio

Words linked to "Desperate straits" :   dire straits, pass, strait, straits

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