mourn·​ful ˈmȯrn-fəl How to pronounce mournful (audio)
: expressing sorrow : sorrowful
: full of sorrow : sad
: causing sorrow or melancholy : gloomy
mournfully adverb
mournfulness noun

Examples of mournful in a Sentence

she had such a mournful expression that someone teasingly asked if her dog had died the mournful survivors of the disaster were faced with the grim task of burying the dead
Recent Examples on the Web Black smoke from firecrackers drifted across the blue sky, and the calm of the square outside the church was broken by the mournful martial thud of drums and the asthmatic hiss of trombones. Aatish Taseer, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 Far from a mournful affair, the holiday is a time of celebration and warmth. David Morgan, CBS News, 2 Nov. 2023 As Wojnarowicz got closer to Hujar and deeper into his art, the tone of the conversation with Jean-Pierre began to sound more mournful, and doubt crept in. David O’Neill, The New Yorker, 24 Oct. 2023 Instead, the tone is mournful, suffused with dread and regret. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2023 Maxim Jacobs, 48, said the mood was mournful during Saturday morning services at his synagogue in New Jersey, with worshippers worried about family in Israel. Bobby Caina Calvan, Fortune, 9 Oct. 2023 Indeed, many of the essays here are mournful if not outright eulogistic. Jonathan Russell Clark, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2023 An illustration of his dear friend Prince, depicted in mournful purple rain, on a yellowing copy of the Village Voice from the week the musician died in 2016. Jada Yuan, Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2023 But that anger frequently gets in the way of the thematic richness that gave The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass their mournful charge. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near mournful

Cite this Entry

“Mournful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


mourn·​ful ˈmō(ə)rn-fəl How to pronounce mournful (audio)
: expressing or full of sorrow : sorrowful
a mournful face
: causing sorrow
a mournful story
mournfully adverb
mournfulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on mournful

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!