lu·​gu·​bri·​ous lu̇-ˈgü-brē-əs How to pronounce lugubrious (audio)
 also  -ˈgyü-
: mournful
especially : exaggeratedly or affectedly (see affected entry 2 sense 1a) 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
: dismal
a lugubrious landscape
lugubrious cello music
lugubriously adverb
lugubriousness noun

Did you know?

Lugubrious Has Latin Roots

Lugubrious is the sole surviving English offspring of Latin lugēre, meaning "to mourn." Its closest kin, luctual, an adjective meaning "sad" or "sorrowful," was put to rest centuries ago.

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 Their happy haberdashery stands in sharp contrast to their lugubrious lyrics. David Holahan, Hartford Courant, 2 Feb. 2024 Nobody says surfing the web anymore, but at the time the phrase made sense as a description of the lugubrious, often frustrating task of finding entertainment. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 25 Mar. 2024 The pop approach to music and politics is no less solemn than the lugubrious 1982 biopic Gandhi. Armond White, National Review, 16 Feb. 2024 The leading men are, likewise, a study in contrasts: Fiennes’s Macbeth is a hulking, lugubrious presence, whereas Tennant’s is a gaunt, energetic bundle of angst. Houman Barekat, New York Times, 19 Dec. 2023 The neighborhood boasted a lugubrious elevation and convenient proximity to a streetcar line. John Kelly, Washington Post, 15 July 2023 It was criticized for its lugubrious tone, convoluted plot and Coppola’s casting of his daughter, Sofia — now a celebrated filmmaker in her own right — as Michael’s doomed daughter, Mary. New York Times, 2 Dec. 2020 More accurately, the Gary, Ind. native spent the years after Interscope dropped him creating an unimpeachable catalog, refining bleak tales of crack sales and sneering at record industry politics over blaring trap beats, avant-garde Madlib suites, and lugubrious Alchemist productions. Spin Staff, SPIN, 26 Dec. 2022 Elsewhere, the pacing can grow somewhat lugubrious, emphasizing that flickers of oddity in the form of Havisham or of Abel Magwitch (Johnny Harris) adorn a somewhat slack story. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 21 Mar. 2023

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lugubrious was in 1585


Dictionary Entries Near lugubrious

Cite this Entry

“Lugubrious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


lu·​gu·​bri·​ous lu̇-ˈgü-brē-əs How to pronounce lugubrious (audio)
 also  -ˈgyü-
: mournful sense 1
especially : exaggeratedly or insincerely mournful
lugubriously adverb
lugubriousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lugubrious

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