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dire straits

a very difficult or dangerous situation


dire = düster, grässlich, schlimm, schrecklich, gräßlich dire straits = die Notlage to be in dire straits = in der Klemme sein



“Corti said Swissair, itself in DIRE financial STRAITS partly because of holdings in carriers like Sabena or French carrier AOM/Air Liberte, was not ready to indefinitely finance loss-making airlines.”

(in British Expats - July 4th 2001)

Did you

dire straits

a very difficult or dangerous situation

You probably know the rock band “Dire Straits”, but do you know the meaning of this phrase?

The word “strait” is from the 14th century and means a comparatively narrow passageway connecting two large bodies of water (i.e. Straits of Florida, Straits of Malacca). These difficult to navigate passages have always been a source of danger for sailors.

“Dire” is from the Latin dirus; akin to Greek deinos: terrifying.

Learn these too:

dire days = very bad times
a dire forecast = warning of disaster

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