Definition of direful in English:


Pronunciation /ˈdī(ə)rfəl/ /ˈdaɪ(ə)rfəl/


archaic, literary
  • Extremely bad; dreadful.

    • ‘Indeed, he is reaching down to that best-known of lieder Schubert published as his Opus 1, and reanimating, in his kaleidoscopic way, the direful night-time gallop of a father and son pursued by a pure demonic force.’
    • ‘From classical times, too, we have the phrase ‘deus ex machina’ to describe those dramas in which a hideously direful circumstance is abruptly set to rights through the intercession of some benevolent god or other.’
    • ‘The resultant blur is an emblem of the paranoid experience, a concurrence of simultaneous direful events.’
    • ‘The war wages on and the winter is hard, but in these most direful moments I draw warmth from the fond memories I hold of you.’
    • ‘Dark, direful clouds floated overhead, threatening to release a downpour of rain at any moment, so the park was void of visitors.’
    terrible, dreadful, appalling, frightful, awful, horrible, atrocious, grim, unspeakable, distressing, harrowing, alarming, shocking, outrageous


Late 16th century from dire+ -ful.



/ˈdī(ə)rfəl/ /ˈdaɪ(ə)rfəl/