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Desperate to Learn the Difference Between “Desperate” and “Disparate”? We Can Help

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“Desperate” is more commonly used when compared to “disparate.” But it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with both words to avoid typos or spelling mistakes.

Desperate definition and disparate definition: What's the difference?
Do you know what “desperate” and “disparate” mean?
Desperate vs. Disparate—Quick Summary

Desperate is an adjective that means “having little to no hope” or “having a serious or urgent need.” Disparate, on the other hand, is an adjective that means “fundamentally different.”

  • My cat was in desperate need of attention.
  • Both candidates presented disparate proposals.


What’s the Difference Between “Desperate” and “Disparate”?

Desperate and disparate are not technically homophones, but they sound similar enough to cause confusion among English speakers and learners alike.

Are you desperate to learn the difference? Let’s dive in!


“Desperate” Definition and Examples

Desperate is an adjective. Compared to disparate, it has a wider range of meanings. It’s often used to describe something or someone as “having little to no hope” or “dangerous or reckless because of despair or urgency.”

We found ourselves in a desperate situation when the last flashlight broke.
Female brown bears can become desperate killers when their cubs are in danger.

Desperate can also be defined as “having a serious or urgent need” or “making an ultimate, final effort.”

Suzanne is desperate for a promotion.
Working during the holidays is her desperate attempt for consideration.

A few synonyms for desperate are:

  • despondent
  • despairing
  • hopeless

“Disparate” Definition and Examples

Disparate is an adjective that means “different, dissimilar, or distinct in every way.” Two or more things that are defined as disparate mean they have very blatant distinctions.

During orientation, I came across a disparate group of students that ended up teaching me numerous new things about the school.
The theory of relativity and quantum physics are two disparate, incompatible theories that cannot coexist.

Familiarizing yourself with the noun disparity might help you remember the difference between desperate and disparate.

Disparity refers to “a noticeable lack of equality or similarity.”

There’s a clear disparity between the treatment of the varsity and junior varsity teams.

The spelling of disparate can also help you remember what it means because different, dissimilar, and distinct all begin with “di-.”

Disparate definition and desperate definition: Find them both here.
“Disparate” refers to a noticeable difference. 

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