sor·​ry | \ ˈsär-ē How to pronounce sorry (audio) , ˈsȯr- \
sorrier; sorriest

Definition of sorry

1 : feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence
3 : inspiring sorrow, pity, scorn, or ridicule : pitiful their affairs were in a sorry state

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sorry

sorrily \ ˈsär-​ə-​lē How to pronounce sorrily (audio) , ˈsȯr-​ \ adverb
sorriness \ ˈsär-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce sorriness (audio) , ˈsȯr-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sorry

contemptible, despicable, pitiable, sorry, scurvy mean arousing or deserving scorn. contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of values. a contemptible liar despicable may imply utter worthlessness and usually suggests arousing an attitude of moral indignation. a despicable crime pitiable applies to what inspires mixed contempt and pity. a pitiable attempt at tragedy sorry may stress pitiable inadequacy or may suggest wretchedness or sordidness. this rattletrap is a sorry excuse for a car scurvy adds to despicable an implication of arousing disgust. a scurvy crew of hangers-on

Examples of sorry in a Sentence

I'm sorry if I offended you. She was sorry to hear about their divorce. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry for saying that. I'm sorry that I wasted your time. What a sorry state of affairs we're in now. That's the sorriest excuse I've heard.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Super moon Objectively the most metal moon (sorry, black moon), these only occur during total lunar eclipses (which can happen a few times a year in any given location). Rachel Feltman, Popular Science, "This weekend’s Snow Moon may or may not be a supermoon, because words have no meaning," 7 Feb. 2020 Esposito, who has already seen one of her dreams dashed, would rather be safe than sorry. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "European Mars rover in a ‘race against time’ to fix parachutes," 26 Nov. 2019 The seat of the bishops of East Anglia in the Middle Ages, by the early 20th century Thetford was in a sorry state. The Economist, "The Cockneys of Thetford," 18 Dec. 2019 The Bulldogs are not going to feel sorry for UNC’s injury woes and poor shooting from the perimeter. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "North Carolina at Gonzaga odds, picks and best bets," 18 Dec. 2019 Although the coal fires do give out noxious smoke, activists also hold current activities of Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) responsible for the sorry state of Jharia’s air. Gurvinder Singh, Quartz India, "The coal mining region in India where the ground beneath shakes and belches fire," 4 Oct. 2019 Alabama’s line is good but not Derrick Brown good: Derrick Brown’s teammates always feel sorry for people who have to line up across from Brown. Giana Han, al, "Instant analysis: Auburn comes out on top in back-and-forth Iron Bowl," 1 Dec. 2019 Your first BarkBox is just $5 for Bark, sorry, Black Friday with any multi-month subscription. Staff, CNN Underscored, "Black Friday 2019: All the best deals you can shop today," 29 Nov. 2019 By the end of the episode, however, Katherine took charge and told the group to stop feeling sorry for her. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "'A Million Little Things' Fans Are Saying "Everyone Annoys" Them Except Katherine," 19 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sorry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sorry

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sorry

Middle English sory, from Old English sārig, from sār sore

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sorry

Time Traveler for sorry

Time Traveler

The first known use of sorry was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sorry

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sorry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sorry


How to pronounce sorry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sorry

: feeling sorrow or regret
used to express polite regret
used to introduce disappointing or bad news in a polite way


sor·​ry | \ ˈsär-ē How to pronounce sorry (audio) \
sorrier; sorriest

Kids Definition of sorry

1 : feeling sorrow or regret I'm sorry I lied.
2 : causing sorrow, pity, or scorn : pitiful a sorry sight a sorry excuse

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sorry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sorry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sorry

Spanish Central: Translation of sorry

Nglish: Translation of sorry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sorry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sorry

What made you want to look up sorry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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