How to Say “Desperate” in Japanese: Formal and Informal Ways

Are you looking to enrich your Japanese vocabulary and express the word “desperate” in various contexts? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to say “desperate” in Japanese, focusing on formal and informal ways. We will also provide tips, examples, and even touch on regional variations when necessary. Whether you need to convey desperation in a polite setting or want to use more casual language, this guide has got you covered.

Formal Ways to Say “Desperate” in Japanese

When it comes to formal situations, such as speaking to your boss, colleagues, or acquaintances, it’s important to maintain a respectful tone. Here are some phrases you can use to convey “desperate” formally:

  • 切実(せつじつ)な – sejitsu na (extremely earnest)
  • 絶望的(ぜつぼうてき)な – zetsubō-teki na (hopeless)
  • 差し迫った(さしせまった) – sashi sematta (imminent)
  • 危機的(ききてき)な – kikiteki na (critical)

Example sentences:

切実な助けが必要です。 (Setsujitsu na tasuke ga hitsuyō desu)
I desperately need help.

その問題は絶望的な状況です。 (Sono mondai wa zetsubō-teki na jōkyō desu)
The situation with that problem is hopeless.

Informal Ways to Say “Desperate” in Japanese

In casual conversations or when speaking with friends, you can use more informal expressions to convey a sense of desperation. Here are some common phrases to use:

  • 必死(ひっし)の – hisshi no (desperate)
  • もうダメ(もうだめ)だ – mō dame da (it’s already hopeless)
  • 痛々しい(いたいたしい) – itaita shii (painful/distressing)
  • もうどうしようもない(もうどうしようもない) – mō dō shiyō mo nai (there’s nothing more I can do)

Example sentences:

必死に助けを求めたが、誰も来なかった。 (Hisshi ni tasuke o motometa ga, dare mo konakatta)
I desperately sought help, but nobody came.

この状況はもうダメだよ! (Kono jōkyō wa mō dame da yo)
This situation is already hopeless!

Regional Variations

Japanese is a diverse language with various regional dialects. While the formal and informal phrases mentioned above are understood across Japan, it’s important to note that certain regions might have their own unique expressions for “desperate.” If you are in a specific region, it’s beneficial to learn some local variations. However, for general communication, the formal and informal ways covered earlier should suffice in most situations.


In this guide, we explored both formal and informal ways to say “desperate” in Japanese. Remember, it’s crucial to adjust your language based on the level of formality required in different contexts. The phrases provided in this guide will help you express your sense of desperation effectively. Additionally, we mentioned a few regional variations to consider. Practice using these expressions and pay attention to the appropriate context to further enhance your Japanese language skills. Happy learning!

⭐Share⭐ to appreciate human effort 🙏
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top