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


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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
Nathan Lane’s Ward McAllister remains, alas, a little hard to take. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 But, alas, Kelly was up Schitt’s Creek sans paddle. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2023 These developments, alas, are out of step with consumers who are turning to lighter, fresher tasting wines with more tartness and less alcohol. Patricia Cohen Violette Franchi, New York Times, 7 Oct. 2023 The book’s titular prophesy of The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty has a deeply satisfying ring—if alas, reminiscent of Mark Twain’s greatly exaggerated reports of death. Nina Burleigh, The New Republic, 26 Sep. 2023 But alas, this is 2023, and not everyone is quite as thrilled about a good ole IPO as in years past. Jessica Mathews, Fortune, 19 Sep. 2023 Like German hip-hop pioneers Advanced Chemistry, who even rapped in English — but, alas, were very much not gay. Daniel Scheffler, Spin, 19 Sep. 2023 The dying off, though real, is also, alas, a symbol. Jesse Green, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 In their hearts men and women long to surrender their anxiety-laden free will to authoritarianism (which, alas, seems true even today). Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alas.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near alas

Cite this Entry

“Alas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


used to express unhappiness, pity, or concern

More from Merriam-Webster on alas

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