• (British) IPA: /dɛspəˈɹɑːdəʊ/

desperado (plural desperadoes)

  1. A bold outlaw, especially one from southern portions of the Wild West.
    • 1850, Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets, The present time
      The kind of persons who excite or give signal to such revolutions — students, young men of letters […], or fierce and justly bankrupt desperadoes, acting everywhere on the discontent of the millions and blowing it into flame, — might give rise to reflections as to the character of our epoch.
    • 1918, Willa Cather, My Antonia, Mirado Modern Classics, paperback edition, page 6
      Surely this was the face of a desperado.
  2. (colloquial) A person in desperate circumstances or who is at the point of desperation, such as a down-and-outer, an addict, etc.
    • 1981, Sam Grafstein, Dice Doctor
      The shortstops and desperados were not permitted to play in this marker crap game.
  3. (colloquial) A person who is desperately in love or is desperate for a romantic or sexual relationship.
  4. (chess) A piece that seems determined to give itself up, typically to bring about stalemate or perpetual check.

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