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General ‪What does the word “dire”‬ mean to you?

What does Dire mean?

  • Better (bigger, more ferocious), American

    Votes: 47 65.3%
  • Better (bigger, more ferocious), British

    Votes: 8 11.1%
  • Worse (poor, rubbish, inferior), American

    Votes: 5 6.9%
  • Worse (poor, rubbish, inferior), British

    Votes: 12 16.7%

  • Total voters
    72

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
For some reason, maybe because I'm from Los Angeles and visited the La Brea Tarpits many times where there are many specimens of fossilized dire wolves, but I've always associated dire wolves with Tolkien's wargs. Does that resonate with anyone?
Well, that’s what they basically are, renamed.
 


slobster

Hero
For some reason, maybe because I'm from Los Angeles and visited the La Brea Tarpits many times where there are many specimens of fossilized dire wolves, but I've always associated dire wolves with Tolkien's wargs. Does that resonate with anyone?
I'm glad someone said this, because the moment I read the OP my first thought was of that dire wolf skeleton in the Tar Pits that is assembled behind glass in the middle of one of the exhibits. I saw it as a child, and the first time I read the 3E MM I flashed back to that exhibit in that room, and all the huge beavers and pigs and cats that were running around the North American continent back in the times of early human arrival on the continent, and that association has been strong with me ever since!

So yeah for me I voted for the American "bigger, ferociouser", but even stronger for me is the association with the literal dire wolves. Would have loved to see them! (but probably not out on a walk in the woods)
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
Canadian here.
I voted Better (more ferocious) American version. But frankly, it is entirely contextual. Both meanings are possible. It depends on the word position in the sentence and the context.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
For some reason, maybe because I'm from Los Angeles and visited the La Brea Tarpits many times where there are many specimens of fossilized dire wolves, but I've always associated dire wolves with Tolkien's wargs. Does that resonate with anyone?
I’be made that connection as well, although clearly D&D worgs are meant to be the stand-in for Tolkien wargs.
 

Harzel

Adventurer
I'd never describe an improvement on the previous generation of sports car as a Dire Corvette for example (although I want to see that as a D&D monster now that I've thought of it).
Well, apparently (I had to look it up) 'corvette' originally meant a small warship. However, if we want it to be a D&D monster, interpreting it as 'small crow' wouldn't be completely out of line. So, a small, really vicious crow. Sure - it appears to be just one medium sized bird, but when it attacks, it transforms into a huge swarm. The Birds. Dire indeed.
 


GreyLord

Adventurer
Yeah I always did wonder where the word Warg/Worg came from
Wargs were from mythology. Normally Fenrir, Skoll, and Hati.

Wolves that are unusually large can also serve as mounts in Norse Mythology at times.

I would suppose Tolkien who loved mythology and mixed it in grasped onto this and recreated this idea of Giant Wolf Mounts that were ferocious as intelligent Wolves that allied with Goblins at times.

I’be made that connection as well, although clearly D&D worgs are meant to be the stand-in for Tolkien wargs.
I had the same thought.

At times I wondered why there are both Dire Wolves and Worgs, as at times they seem to be interchangeable in D&D.

Of course, they also have Dire Wolves (as some point out) from North America, one of the extinct species that cohabited the Americas along with the Saber-toothed Tiger. They were extremely large wolves comparatively, so perhaps that's the difference.
 

‪What does the word “dire”‬ mean to you? (As in “dire badger”)?
The usage of the word "dire" in D&D stems from the inclusion of the real (but extinct) creature, the dire wolf. The taxemic name of the creature is Canis dirus. So neither British or American is correct - the word is Latin, and translates as "fearsome".
 

Yeah I always did wonder where the word Warg/Worg came from
It came from Norse mythology, vargr.
I’be made that connection as well, although clearly D&D worgs are meant to be the stand-in for Tolkien wargs.
Most edition D&D monster manuals feature both wargs and dire wolves. In D&D terms, the warg is an intelligent monster that resembles a wolf, whereas the dire wolf is a bigger tougher animal (although the real world dire wolf was not much bigger than a modern grey wolf).
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
To me, dire means "dreadful." A dire wolf is a dreadful wolf...one that is bigger, tougher, and more ferocious than your garden-variety wolf. So I voted "better," and I speak American English.
It is almost like what a word means depends on the context in which it is used!
 

JeffB

Legend
In D&D it means silly naming conventions that someone thought would sound Edgy & Kewl

Otherwise it means "Bad"
Dire Straits= We are in deep :poop:
That show was "Dire"= That show was :poop:

American- Ancestry pre-US Colonial English and Pre 20th Century Italian Immigrant. Born South of the Mason Dixon Line. Currently lost in the 666 layers of the Abyss*




*AKA New England.
 



Laurefindel

Adventurer
Canadian here.
I voted Better (more ferocious) American version. But frankly, it is entirely contextual. Both meanings are possible. It depends on the word position in the sentence and the context.
Canadian too, so I'm not sure whether my English can be better described as American or British. I write "theatre", but I also eat at McDonald's... Lets go with "American".

I've always used "dire" as "worse" or "worst", which depending on context can mean "more" or "less" but always in ways that makes it bad news for the subject. As in a dire wolf is not worse at fighting than a regular wolf, but fighting a dire wolf would be a worse situation - at least for me - than opposing a regular wolf. I guess that put's me in the "bigger, more ferocious" category.
 


MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
Another Canadian here. While written Canadian English takes some conventions from British English and others from American English I'd say that in terms of general spoken usage we're closer to American. With the shorter distance there's more exposure through travel and media consumption. Bonus fun fact: The Quebec French accent has drifted so much that Quebec produced films are often subtitled in France-French.

I voted for dire to mean better/bigger. When you talk of dire consequences you are usually describing the magnitude of the consequences as larger. And in my mind a dire situation describes a situation with dire consequences which therefore describes a situation with large consequences.
 

Maestrino

Explorer
American and extensive reader here. I interpret "dire" as not just "bad" but "extraordinarily bad".

So in one sense a dire situation is a very bad, urgent situation. And in another sense a dire wolf is an extraordinarily bad (i.e. dangerous) wolf, which is different than the British interpretation of being very bad at being a wolf... in which case a beagle is also indeed a very dire wolf.
 

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