sor·​row | \ ˈsär-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce sorrow (audio) , ˈsȯr- \

Definition of sorrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved
b : resultant unhappy or unpleasant state to their great sorrow they could not marry
2 : a cause of grief or sadness
3 : a display of grief or sadness


sorrowed; sorrowing; sorrows

Definition of sorrow (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to feel or express sorrow

Other Words from sorrow


sorrower \ ˈsär-​ə-​wər How to pronounce sorrow (audio) , ˈsȯr-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sorrow


sorrow, grief, anguish, woe, regret mean distress of mind. sorrow implies a sense of loss or a sense of guilt and remorse. a family united in sorrow upon the patriarch's death grief implies poignant sorrow for an immediate cause. the inexpressible grief of the bereaved parents anguish suggests torturing grief or dread. the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child woe is deep or inconsolable grief or misery. cries of woe echoed throughout the bombed city regret implies pain caused by deep disappointment, fruitless longing, or unavailing remorse. nagging regret for missed opportunities

Examples of sorrow in a Sentence

Noun I felt sorrow at the death of my friend. a life filled with joys and sorrows She had a secret sorrow. Verb a sorrowing mother, grieving over the death of her son the soldier's widow continued to sorrow long after her husband's last letter had turned yellow with age
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet this museum does a great service: Visitors may depart with sorrow, but also with gratitude for learning a history lesson that should be better known. —Ms. Dobrzynski writes about art for the Journal and other publications. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2022 Though in previous years, the two had often celebrated with joy, this time was overshadowed with sorrow. Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 Nov. 2021 Both Meg and Jack hope this decision isn’t met with sorrow by their fans but that it is seen as a positive move done out of respect for the music that the band has created. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 10 Nov. 2021 Things head for a dramatic conclusion that’s supposed to fill you with sorrow but filled me with yawns. Kyle Smith, National Review, 7 Oct. 2021 Comments from the other two former presidents about the war's end were laced with sorrow. Susan Page, USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2021 Mission creep can also cause much sorrow in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Michael Krepon, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Lewis, who now lives in Colorado, said was flooded with feelings of relief, but also a deep sorrow. Taylor Hartz, Orlando Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 The rage and sorrow in Shanghai hit a new peak last weekend, when vast numbers of people shared a video chronicling residents’ experiences of the authorities’ failures. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As Russia celebrated its most emotional holiday commemorating the Nazi defeat in World War II, Putin appeared in Red Square to invoke pride and sorrow over the Soviet role then and to cast Russia’s battles in Ukraine now as such a just cause. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 The book is one of triumph and also sorrow, including the many Black actors and actresses who died young without ever finding the success their talents merited. Kate Tuttle,, 11 Nov. 2021 And sorrow, as Marcus Arbery moved away from the line of charter buses and into the crowd of people standing where his youngest child had laid motionless and bleeding 20 months prior. Asia Simone Burns, ajc, 25 Oct. 2021 Wilkerson took a broad, undifferentiated view of addiction—any vice, or even sorrow, constituted grounds for admission. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 Quickly, filmmakers, fans, and former employees took to Twitter to publicly mourn the loss, with reactions ranging from stand-alone expletives to sorrow to denial — and also some priceless remembrances. Max Cea, Vulture, 15 Apr. 2021 Combining formal audacity with emotional intimacy and sharp social observation, the picture attains a fullness of humorous, sorrowing life. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2020 Playful and poignant in equal measure, Wheaton’s compositions are profoundly moving, evoking both loss and resilience — the sorrowing look back, and the hopeful look forward. Rand Richards Cooper,, 15 Nov. 2019 Chili’s Wash away all your tax day sorrows with a $5 Cuervo Blue Margarita, made with silver tequila, blue Curacao and pineapple juice. Madison Roberts,, 9 Apr. 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of sorrow


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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sorrow


Middle English sorow, from Old English sorg; akin to Old High German sorga sorrow

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Time Traveler for sorrow

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

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Dictionary Entries Near sorrow

Sorrento work



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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sorrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sorrow


sor·​row | \ ˈsär-ō How to pronounce sorrow (audio) \

Kids Definition of sorrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : sadness felt after a loss (as of someone or something loved)
2 : a cause of grief or sadness He moved away to forget his sorrows.
3 : a feeling of regret


sorrowed; sorrowing

Kids Definition of sorrow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel or express sorrow : grieve

Choose the Right Synonym for sorrow


sorrow, grief, and woe mean a feeling of great sadness. sorrow is used for a feeling that something has been lost and often feelings of guilt and regret. He expressed sorrow for having caused the accident. grief is used for a feeling of great sorrow usually for a particular reason. She felt grief over the death of her pet. woe is used for a feeling of hopelessness and misery. All my troubles left me in a state of woe.

More from Merriam-Webster on sorrow

Nglish: Translation of sorrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sorrow for Arabic Speakers


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