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

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

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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

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 The choreographic action tells of dancers having fun while leaving the audience waiting for some theatrical dimension that fails to surface; Brandon Stirling Baker’s lighting occasionally bathes the stage in lugubrious magenta to murky effect. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "A Celebration of Jerome Robbins," 8 May 2018 On the surface, the fact Leonard’s quad still isn’t copacetic would seem enough to make Popovich lugubrious. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "For a night, Spurs shrug off Leonard’s tendinopathy," 17 Jan. 2018 Nostalgia Director Mark Pellington tries to create a sense of loss and mystery, with this rambling story of various people suffering from grief or catastrophe, but while the attempt is occasionally effective, the story becomes grim and lugubrious. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Capsule movie reviews for April 8," 5 Apr. 2018 But what follows is lugubrious and anticlimactic, inadequate testimonial to those slaughtered in this pointless battle, and the million more who would die before the war’s end. Peter Keough,, "Soldiers await their fate in ‘Journey’s End’," 4 Apr. 2018 Facebook, an agile private company, seemed poised to usher in the global village in a way that the United States, a lugubrious republic, never could. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "Facebook's Ideological Imperialism," 30 Mar. 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.

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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

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lug sole






Statistics for lugubrious

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Time Traveler for lugubrious

The first known use of lugubrious was in 1585

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More Definitions for lugubrious



English Language Learners Definition of lugubrious

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

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Comments on lugubrious

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something desired as essential

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