ˈmi-zə-rə- How to pronounce miserable (audio)
: being in a pitiable state of distress or unhappiness (as from want or shame)
miserable refugees
: wretchedly inadequate or meager (see meager sense 2)
a miserable hovel
: causing extreme discomfort or unhappiness
a miserable situation
miserable weather
his miserable childhood
: being likely to discredit or shame
his miserable neglect of his wife
had a miserable, snide contempt for our countryJoyce Winslow
miserable noun
miserableness noun
ˈmi-zə-rə- How to pronounce miserable (audio)

Examples of miserable in a Sentence

He had a miserable childhood. My boss is making my life thoroughly miserable with her constant demands and criticism. He felt lonely and miserable after his divorce. I've had a miserable cold for the past week. He lived in a miserable little shack.
Recent Examples on the Web The mistakes cost United two points putting the club on the brink of elimination from the competition, another negative to an already quite miserable season. Zak Garner-Purkis, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 The pros of using an air purifier for allergies On the one hand, air purifiers work to clear the air of some of the stuff making your child miserable. Emily Shiffer, Parents, 22 Nov. 2023 The fashion industry has mastered the art of perfecting that stylishly miserable look, so take your cues from the pros. Cassie Steer, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Nov. 2023 Some airports do a better job of making those miseries less miserable. LaGuardia Airport in New York and Orlando International Airport in Florida are infamous among travelers for their problems with on-time arrivals and departure delays. Jacob Passy, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2023 Artisan Gateway reports that as 78% ahead of a miserable 2022 and 14% below the comparable running total in 2019. Patrick Frater, Variety, 12 Nov. 2023 As miserable as that sounds, note that the voice assistants that aren't charging a monthly fee are all huge money losers. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 10 Nov. 2023 The lack of good news is dampening civilian morale, as are growing fears Russia will soon renew its attacks on energy infrastructure that could make life miserable during the coldest months of the year. Siobhán O'Grady, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023 After a miserable preseason, Wood has played himself into better shape and has found a better rhythm as the Lakers’ key reserve. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'miserable.' 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 Middle French, from Latin miserabilis wretched, pitiable, from miserari to pity, from miser

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of miserable was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near miserable

Cite this Entry

“Miserable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/miserable. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mis·​er·​a·​ble ˈmiz-ər-bəl How to pronounce miserable (audio)
: shabby in condition or quality
a miserable place to live
: causing great discomfort or unhappiness
a miserable cold
: extremely poor or unhappy : wretched
miserableness noun
miserably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on miserable

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