\ ə-ˈlas How to pronounce alas (audio) \

Definition of alas

 (Entry 1 of 2)

used to express unhappiness, pity, or concern Life, alas, is too short.

Definition of Alas (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for alas

Synonyms: Interjection

alack, ay, wirra [Irish], woe

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of alas in a Sentence


Juliet's pitiful lament, “alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead!”.

Recent Examples on the Web: Interjection

Alas, as of this writing, no announcement has come forth indicating which, if any, Jazz Festival headliners will play additional engagements in Chicago-area venues, apart from the After Fest sessions that always have sprouted during the festival. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Jazz Festival needs to connect to the rest of Chicago," 26 Aug. 2017 Alas, the Mid-Atlantic missed out on the biggest piece of the Powerball jackpot when a $758.7 million ticket was sold in Massachusetts — the largest single-ticket payout in U.S. history. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, "D.C. region misses out on big Powerball jackpot, but scores two $1 million prizes," 24 Aug. 2017 Alas, the plaque — which had been welded to the table — was subsequently stolen. George Varga, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Jack Tempchin revisits his musical partnership with the Eagles' Glenn Frey on heartfelt new CD," 19 Aug. 2017 Alas, many also believe that monkeys infect people, which isn't true. Sam Kean, Science | AAAS, "When will yellow fever strike Brazil again? Monkeys and mosquitoes hold clues," 17 Aug. 2017 Alas, Neymar remains with Barca — at least for the time being — and he is expected to play against Real Madrid on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium in El Clasico Miami. Michelle Kaufman, miamiherald, "Juventus kicks off El Clasico week with victory over PSG in final minutes," 26 July 2017 Alas, the game between India and Pakistan has often turned serious. The Economist, "Hissing cousinsWhy India and Pakistan hate each other," 22 July 2017 Alas, Donald Trump is far too intellectually limited and lazy to dictate policy to his party — and far too corrupt to risk attracting Paul Ryan’s ire. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Donald Trump Is a Victim of Congressional Republicans’ Incompetence," 19 July 2017 But alas, the city known for where the surf meets the turf has been missing one major San Diego staple: a local craft brewery. Liz Bowen, Pacific San Diego Magazine, "Del Mar is finally getting a craft brewery," 13 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alas.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of alas


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alas


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from a ah + las weary, from Latin lassus — more at lassitude

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alas

Statistics for alas

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alas

The first known use of alas was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for alas

English Language Learners Definition of alas

old-fashioned + literary used to express sadness, sorrow, disappointment, etc.
\ ə-ˈlas How to pronounce alas (audio) \

Kids Definition of alas

used to express unhappiness, pity, disappointment or worry Alas, it was too late!

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on alas

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alas

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alas

Spanish Central: Translation of alas

Nglish: Translation of alas for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alas for Arabic Speakers

Comments on alas

What made you want to look up alas? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!