mis·​ery | \ ˈmi-zə-rē How to pronounce misery (audio) , ˈmiz-rē \
plural miseries

Definition of misery

1 : a state of suffering and want that is the result of poverty or affliction War brought misery to thousands of refugees.
2 : a circumstance, thing, or place that causes suffering or discomfort the joys and miseries of life
3 : a state of great unhappiness and emotional distress My former boss made my life a misery.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for misery



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distress, suffering, misery, agony mean the state of being in great trouble. distress implies an external and usually temporary cause of great physical or mental strain and stress. the hurricane put everyone in great distress suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress. the suffering of famine victims misery stresses the unhappiness attending especially sickness, poverty, or loss. the homeless live with misery every day agony suggests pain too intense to be borne. in agony over the death of their child

Examples of misery in a Sentence

The war brought misery to thousands of refugees. They were living in overcrowded slums in conditions of great misery. a source of human misery the joy and misery of life The last years of her life were a misery. Stop being such a misery.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Americans enter the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits looking to forget a dreadful blowout in the last edition of the series, not to mention decades of international golf misery. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 23 Sep. 2021 That same passion is what dragged her out of injury misery years later. oregonlive, 23 Sep. 2021 The daily vignettes of human misery in and around the intersection has become a mayoral campaign issue, with multiple candidates in recent months speaking to the need for a regional approach to tackling the problems there. BostonGlobe.com, 21 Sep. 2021 For all her spiteful, destructive misery, Hero is also a natural healer, cool under all kinds of pressure. Devon Maloney, Vulture, 21 Sep. 2021 But this is the Big Ten Misery Index, and there was indeed, some misery in the Big Ten on Saturday. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 30 Aug. 2021 Is that misery level worth $2,000-and-change a month? Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Sep. 2021 Critics say Hezbollah profits from Lebanon’s misery, giving no incentive to fix it. Dana Khraiche, Bloomberg.com, 10 Sep. 2021 But the international left is trying to help Cuba’s military dictatorship recover from this public-relations disaster by blaming the U.S. for the island’s misery. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 6 Sep. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for misery

Time Traveler

The first known use of misery was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near misery



misery guts

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Statistics for misery

Last Updated

26 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Misery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misery. Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for misery



English Language Learners Definition of misery

: extreme suffering or unhappiness
: something that causes extreme suffering or unhappiness
: a very unhappy or painful time or experience


mis·​ery | \ ˈmi-zə-rē How to pronounce misery (audio) , ˈmiz-rē \
plural miseries

Kids Definition of misery

: great suffering or unhappiness

More from Merriam-Webster on misery

Nglish: Translation of misery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of misery for Arabic Speakers


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