mourn·​ful | \ ˈmȯrn-fəl How to pronounce mournful (audio) \

Definition of mournful

1 : expressing sorrow : sorrowful
2 : full of sorrow : sad
3 : causing sorrow or melancholy : gloomy

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Other Words from mournful

mournfully \ ˈmȯrn-​fə-​lē How to pronounce mournful (audio) \ 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 Many people refused to believe the nearly 6-foot-tall girl with the long, flowing hair and the mournful face was only 14., "The girl in the Kent State photo and the lifelong burden of being a national symbol," 20 Apr. 2021 Many people refused to believe the nearly 6-foot-tall girl with the long, flowing hair and the mournful face was only 14. Patricia Mccormick, Washington Post, "The Girl in the Kent State Photo," 19 Apr. 2021 That’s part of the movie’s edgily engaging artistry; what begins as a shadowy spy adventure ends in a place of mournful resignation. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Benedict Cumberbatch Is a Spy With Soul in The Courier—But He's Not the Only Reason to Watch," 16 Apr. 2021 The lack of a rhythm section lent the final version a slow, mournful quality. David Browne, Rolling Stone, "From ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ to ‘I Can’t Breathe’: Protest Songs Spotlighted in Revamped Exhibit," 9 Apr. 2021 There’s none of the mournful sentimentality that has colored other virtual presentations here and elsewhere; the theater has never looked so fresh, so full of promise. New York Times, "Review: Reveling in the Tap Magic of Ayodele Casel," 9 Apr. 2021 The plaintiveness of his surrender is both funny and mournful. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "In the Oscar-Nominated The Man Who Sold His Skin, a Refugee Stakes His Future on a Tattoo," 9 Apr. 2021 The Queen, nonetheless, is just as likely to redouble her efforts, and to proceed with mournful dignity toward her own centenary. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Prince Philip’s Death and the Last Embers of British Stoicism," 9 Apr. 2021 There is a mournful chord and an existential shiver in all of her art — life hanging by a filament, mixed with the will to survive. Jerry Saltz, Vulture, "The Detonations of Alice Neel," 6 Apr. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for mournful

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

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Statistics for mournful

Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mournful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mournful



English Language Learners Definition of mournful

: full of sorrow : very sad


mourn·​ful | \ ˈmȯrn-fəl How to pronounce mournful (audio) \

Kids Definition of mournful

1 : full of sorrow or sadness a mournful face
2 : causing sorrow mournful news

Other Words from mournful

mournfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb spoke mournfully

More from Merriam-Webster on mournful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mournful

Nglish: Translation of mournful for Spanish Speakers

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