\ 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)

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Synonyms for alas

Synonyms: Interjection

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Examples of alas in a Sentence

Interjection Juliet's pitiful lament, “alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead!”.
Recent Examples on the Web: Interjection Dad started the deck updating project with all intentions of finishing it, but, alas, the outdoor space remains half done with a pile o'tools many months later. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, 9 June 2021 But alas, Queenie turns out to be the Godzilla of Brian’s villages. Kevin Fisher-paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 June 2021 But alas, the usual routine of online calls and deadlines has, not surprisingly, returned. Ed Silverman, STAT, 2 June 2021 The assistant to the bookkeeper would be the subbookkeeper, a word with four consecutive double letters that, alas, doesn’t exist. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 May 2021 But, alas, some of those scenarios aren’t likely to happen. Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2021 The Washington Post Magazine’s beloved Peeps diorama contest is no more, alas. Washington Post, 6 May 2021 The pregame talk — still on video conference only, alas — was largely about the vaccine. New York Times, 8 Apr. 2021 But this—alas, unsurprisingly—is just one small element of the willful obliteration of black history around us. Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for alas

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for alas

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alas.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alas. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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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!

More from Merriam-Webster on alas

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alas

Nglish: Translation of alas for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alas for Arabic Speakers


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