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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Choose the Right Synonym for misery

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 There is so much intimate misery that people are suffering because of all of this. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Joe Biden Needs Schooling in the Thought of John Paul II," 7 Sep. 2020 Rather than allow Washington to set that kind of precedent, China may put TikTok out of its misery. TheWeek, "Can TikTok survive its takeover turmoil?," 5 Sep. 2020 Selfish individualism mixed with violent paranoia and gleeful provocation in the face of other people’s misery. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Our Summer of American Nihilism," 4 Sep. 2020 Still, there continued to be misery in the oil patch – and the hotel sector, judging from Hegar’s numbers. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Texas’ sales tax haul slumps again, raising questions about how state economy is faring amid pandemic," 1 Sep. 2020 But as Lebanon’s key political power-broker, with armed forces more capable than the national army, Hezbollah has been widely blamed for its role in Lebanon’s misery. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why power-broker Hezbollah is still rocked by Beirut blast," 24 Aug. 2020 The level of misery on I-4 — known in normal times for miles-long back-ups — seems directly proportional to the amount of commerce, tourism and faith among locals that going out is safe. Adelaide Chen, orlandosentinel.com, "Central Florida economy stuck in plateau as hotels remain mostly empty, I-4 traffic stays light," 28 Aug. 2020 Others experienced some misery, although nothing approaching what her husband has gone through. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "COVID-19 hit Alabama lawmaker and farmer like nothing had before," 27 Aug. 2020 Heavy rain – along with the possibility of tornadoes – will add to the weather misery across the region as Laura roars through. Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, "First Rita, then Ike. Now the 'resilient' residents of this Texas town brace for Hurricane Laura.," 26 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for misery

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Misery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misery. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for misery


How to pronounce misery (audio)

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

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Comments on misery

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