Desperate vs disparate

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Desperate describes a situation or feeling that is tremendously hopeless, that invokes despair. Animals or people who are desperate may exhibit risky behavior as they have nothing to lose. Desperate is an adjective, the adverb form is desperately and the noun form is desperateness. Desperate is derived from the Latin word desperatus, which means given up, despaired of.

Disparate means absolutely different, not of a kind. Disparate describes things that are not comparable. Disparate is an adjective, the adverb form is disparately and the noun form is disparateness. Disparate comes from the Latin word disparare, which means divide, separate.


Witnesses have praised the efforts of a group of people who desperately tried to save the life of a young man who plunged 10 metres to his death off a waterfall on the NSW Central Coast at the weekend. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

The desperate dad who ended up in court after stealing out-of-date food is now homeless on the streets – and reduced to begging.  (The Mirror)

He cautioned the public against being swayed by impulsive commitments by “a man who seems only desperate for power, but with no credible vision for the growth and development of Jamaica”. (The Jamaica Gleaner)

“What we’re seeing is an amalgamation of a lot of different and disparate strands of the extremist movement converging in one place,” said Ryan Lenz, a senior writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks and studies extremist groups. (The New York Times)

“Some of the claims being made in this case present issues, such as use of [race] proxying and reliance on the disparate-impact doctrine, that would pose litigation risks meriting serious consideration prior to taking administrative action or filing suit in district court,” the Oct. 7, 2013, memo addressed to CFPB chief Richard Cordray acknowledges. (The New York Post)

That means a Beatles rock song, a Dizzy Gillespie bebop tune, a Beethoven symphony — the disparate tracks that make up the 20 billion hours of music that Pandora streamed for users in 2014 — all have what’s known as a “genotype,” a hard-number expression of a song’s many parts. (The Post Democrat)