lugubrious

adjective
lu·​gu·​bri·​ous | \ lu̇-ˈgü-brē-əs How to pronounce lugubrious (audio) also -ˈgyü- \

Definition of lugubrious

1 : mournful especially : exaggeratedly or affectedly (see affected sense 1) mournful dark, dramatic and lugubrious brooding — V. S. Pritchett the tour de force of lugubrious cliche is ten times longer than this review — Martin Amis
2 : dismal a lugubrious landscape lugubrious cello music

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from lugubrious

lugubriously adverb
lugubriousness noun

Lugubrious Has Latin Roots

It is a consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery, wrote Publilius Syrus in the first century BC. Perhaps this explains why "lugubrious" is so woeful-it's all alone. Sure, we can dress up "lugubrious" with suffixes to form "lugubriously" or "lugubriousness," but the word remains essentially an only child-the sole surviving English offspring of its Latin ancestors. This wasn't always the case, though. "Lugubrious" once had a linguistic living relative in "luctual," an adjective meaning "sad" or "sorrowful." Like "lugubrious," "luctual" traced ultimately to the Latin verb lugēre, meaning "to mourn." "Luctual," however, faded into obsolescence long ago, leaving "lugubrious" to carry on the family's mournful mission all alone.

Examples of lugubrious in a Sentence

a comic actor known for his lugubrious manner the diner's dim lighting makes eating there a particularly lugubrious experience
Recent Examples on the Web Jo Nesbo, creator of the lugubrious Norwegian detective Harry Hole, has sold over 45m books worldwide. The Economist, "Ice-cold cases Investigating the mysterious appeal of Scandi noir," 21 May 2020 Screenwriter Eleanor Catton—who won the Booker Prize for The Luminaries, the youngest novelist ever to take that honor—pares Mr. Woodhouse's complaints down to single lugubrious lines, delivered at double-time. Ted Scheinman, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Autumn de Wilde’s ‘Emma’ Gets Right About Jane Austen’s Irony," 5 Mar. 2020 What should be soaring is instead lugubrious; what should be a ripping good yarn is instead dutiful and a little bit dull. Ann Hornaday, Houston Chronicle, "Splendid visuals can't save dull Netflix drama 'The King'," 30 Oct. 2019 The road is completely blocked by angry protestors, and their lugubrious chants and slogans become a nerve-wracking soundtrack to everything that follows. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Weeping Woman' ('La Llorona'): Film Review," 30 Sep. 2019 Precipitated into a supernatural daze by a mystifying woman in a lugubrious bar, psychotherapist Dr. Rossini (Jan Bluthardt) learns about a ritual invocation from decades ago on a distant continent that’s haunting his present. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: The demonic possession Euro-horror of ‘Luz’ will rattle your soul," 18 July 2019 The opaque and lugubrious language of the law is an unwitting accomplice in all this, the serpentine connections between precedents and statutes and sub-definitions shoving everything into abstractions. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "On Sending Women Home to Die," 18 June 2018 An unforgiving, industrial glare does little to stave off the lugubrious solitude of night. Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle, "In the memory palace of Robert Lepage’s ‘887,’ there are many mansions," 5 May 2018 After a number of women are mangled and beheaded in similarly bizarre circumstances, lugubrious police officer Cruz (Victor Lopez) begins gathering clues. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Murder Me, Monster' ('Muere, monstro, muere'): Film Review | Cannes 2018," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lugubrious.' 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 lugubrious

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lugubrious

Latin lugubris, from lugēre to mourn; akin to Greek lygros mournful

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lugubrious

Time Traveler for lugubrious

Time Traveler

The first known use of lugubrious was in 1585

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about lugubrious

Statistics for lugubrious

Cite this Entry

“Lugubrious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lugubrious. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lugubrious

lugubrious

adjective
How to pronounce lugubrious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lugubrious

formal : full of sadness or sorrow : very sad especially in an exaggerated or insincere way

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on lugubrious

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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