from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A bold or desperate outlaw, especially of the American frontier.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A bold outlaw, especially one from southern portions of the Wild West.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A reckless, furious man; a person urged by furious passions, and regardless of consequence; a wild ruffian.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A desperate or reckless man; one urged by furious passions; one habituated to lawless deeds either for himself or for others.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a bold outlaw (especially on the American frontier)


Probably from Spanish desperado, desesperado, desperate person, from past participle of desesperar, to despair, from Latin dēspērāre; see despair.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish desesperado, past participle of desesperar ("to despair"), from Latin disperare ("to despair, to lose hope"), from prefix dis- + sperare ("to hope"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Bold indeed, WordNet's got it this time.

    September 5, 2008