interjection \ˈwō\

Definition of WOE

—used to express grief, regret, or distress

Examples of WOE

  1. <ah, woe, with the death of the last of my siblings I am alone in this world!>

Origin of WOE

Middle English wa, wo, from Old English wā; akin to Old Norse vei, interjection, woe, Latin vae
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to WOE

alack, ay, wirra [Irish], alas



: a feeling of great pain or sadness

woes : problems or troubles

Full Definition of WOE

:  a condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief
:  ruinous trouble :  calamity, affliction <economic woes>

Examples of WOE

  1. The city's traffic woes are well-known.
  2. <a tale of misery and woe>

First Known Use of WOE

before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of WOE

sorrow, grief, anguish, woe, regret mean distress of mind. sorrow implies a sense of loss or a sense of guilt and remorse <a family united in sorrow upon the patriarch's death>. grief implies poignant sorrow for an immediate cause <the inexpressible grief of the bereaved parents>. anguish suggests torturing grief or dread <the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child>. woe is deep or inconsolable grief or misery <cries of woe echoed throughout the bombed city>. regret implies pain caused by deep disappointment, fruitless longing, or unavailing remorse <nagging regret for missed opportunities>.
WOE Defined for Kids


noun \ˈwō\

Definition of WOE for Kids

:  great sorrow, grief, or misfortune :  trouble
:  something that causes a problem


Next Word in the Dictionary: woebegonePrevious Word in the Dictionary: wodgeAll Words Near: woe
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears