Writing can become complicated sometimes if we are using similar written words. The similarity in pronunciation can also be a problem if accents get in the way.
"Disparate" means something different in each way. For example: "They grew up in two disparate religions." On the other hand, "Desperate" means very bad or extreme frustration. For example: "The animals were desperate for water." These are two different words.
Yes, both words sound very alike, but their meanings are not related at all. The autocorrect feature may correct us when texting something, and all of a sudden, it turns out we are using the wrong word or the wrong message. Let's dig into the origins of each term and see what we can find.
Origin Of The Words And Other Facts
"Desperate" is an adjective, and it means hopelessness and extreme frustration. It comes from the Latin "dēspērātus," which means "to be without hope." A person in that situation is in a state of despair. It also relates to something severe. Desperate people perceive limited options.
Another source suggests that "desperate comes from the Latin word "desperatus," and it translates to "haven given up."
"Disparate" refers to things uncomparable or things that are distinct from each other. It comes from the Latin "disparātus," which means "to separate."
How People Use Them
Depending on the context, both words are used in situations related to despair or to compare opposite things.
If you want to say that someone had an emergency and the situation was so bad that they felt hopeless, then the correct word is "desperate." For example, She was so desperate that she had to call 911.
Like many other words, the Latin root of "desperate" is very similar to the final word.
Not all situations demand that "desperate" has to be used to refer to a lack of hope. Also, if you want to say that there was no regard for safety or danger, it is valid to use it—for example, A desperate leap of faith.
In all the cases, it is clear that "desperate" is a word that has to be used to accentuate the situation or the action being performed.
In most action thrillers, movies, or books, the hero or some good guys sacrifice themselves to achieve a result or save something or someone. That action that is made just before the inevitable happens is a "desperate" action. In fact, in many fantasy movies, that action is all it takes for the hero to win whatever battle is being faced.
Picture this: You are at college or high school. You did not study at all for the test. And you know you are going to fail. The teacher gives you the test, you read it, and it is a fact that no good grade is coming out of that test. You start looking for help. No one understands you, and the clock is ticking. Ten minutes left on the clock. Your test is empty. No answer. What do you do? Give up? Or do you think and do a desperate measure to try to pass? Maybe you are a person who doesn't copy from others, but if not, you will do something desperate to try not to fail or at least fill in one or two questions besides your name. That is a real-life desperate situation. I know that one pretty well. It happened to me.
On the other hand, you have "disparate," which is funny because both words' meanings are disparate.
Remember, "disparate" refers to things that are markedly different in character or quality.
Let's see another real-life situation: Imagine that you are an avid rock fan. Black clothes, black nails, deep readings, and lyrics. A very easygoing person who doesn't like going dancing or to nightclubs.
Now, you meet this other person in nightclubs, fashion, social media, talking to his/her followers, selfies, and all that. You two start dating and then fall in love. You are a disparate couple.
Love can win in that situation if you respect each other's world and learn from each other. Ok. I got a little carried away, but I hope you get the point. No? Let me give some other examples then.
Examples Of The Terms In A Sentence
- I hadn't drunk anything in the day and was desperate for water.
- He was so desperate; He even went to see a shrink.
- A desperate attempt.
- A desperate situation requires a desperate solution.
- When I finally finished the shift, I was desperate for a nap in my bed.
- This subject of study combines several disparate points of view.
- In these unfortunate times, we must take desperate actions.
- I am desperately interested in working in the tourism world.
- She had to be desperate to get rid of him.
- I was desperate to get there.
- I was desperate to read more articles about the crime.
- She was desperate to make him leave.
- The policemen were desperate to find them.
- The connection between the three fields, which seems disparate, was necessary.
- Look at them. They are very disparate and still love each other.
- It is a valuable collaboration instrument for reunions with partners in disparate places.
- It's a desperate play by someone who knows that she's in a fight for his contract,"
- Twelve months later, we are back to the new-old regular — even though several continue desperate for help.
- The hunchback is confined physically to the church, but his desire for freedom is desperate and stimulating.
- The administration is desperate to avoid reimposing such strict actions.
- He would like to follow the plan for parents desperate to see it continue, but he can't.
- With that many websites crowding the web, there are loads of desperate need of good content.
- While it's essential for our state security, the program is in desperate need of improvement.
- When the Clinic put out a desperate call for medicines, Doug offered his help.
- To take benefit of those disparate factors, you have to split them up.
- Mix that with disparate ideologies and extremism, and the isolation has led them down dark roads.
- Instead, it brings disparate origins of information together on a particular workstation.
- An economic crisis, an inequality crisis, a health crisis, a trust crisis, a climate crisis, a democracy crisis—are all disparate subjects that need to be taken care of.
- They installed up to three sites to support the disparate camera aims.
- All the colors were disparate. I couldn't make up my mind, so I chose none.
- I wasn't going to wait for the police to arrive, so I took matters into my own hands. What can I say? I was desperate.
- She was desperate for a solution, but all the possible answers were disparate and unrelated.
- All of this implies that tying the disparate data together is going to be difficult.
- They made a last desperate effort to reach the car. They took brave actions to save his life."
Now that we have seen enough examples, I'm sure we won't get that confused anymore. All we have to remember is that "desperate" and "disparate" are two different words. One means to be hopeless or in despair, and the other one refers to unrelated things. Never confuse them anymore because you might change the whole sense of your writing if you do. So pay attention always and don't get desperate if you make a couple of mistakes. Just remember that both are disparate words, and soon you will get the hang of it.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.