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

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Other Words from sorrow


sorrower \ ˈsär-​ə-​wər How to pronounce sorrower (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


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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That would portray life as a facade of constant rainbows and butterflies that masks the heart-wrenching pain and momentary periods of regret and sorrow that are a part of life. Mikayla Pivec | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Mikayla Pivec’s Oregon State women’s basketball diary: Staying positive despite a recent Costco-sized platter of humble pie," 21 Feb. 2020 Dawson seizes the humor, pathos and tragedy of the sorrow songs of the cottonfield with an oracular vehemence. Joseph Horowitz, WSJ, "A Symphony to Link Africa and America," 7 Feb. 2020 The president was barely five minutes into his speech, and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) was already shaking his head, with his face furrowed into an expression that was one part disgust and one part sorrow. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Congressional Democrats wore their white hot fury to the State of the Union," 5 Feb. 2020 For now, each new step for me will be full of deep love and prayers, as a heavy sorrow for Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, and all the families involved, is slowly redeemed into something healed and new. Heather Tucker, USA TODAY, "Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers GM, releases statement about Kobe Bryant's death," 30 Jan. 2020 Lucky for us, the show knows that Blanca’s death in a season 2 finale would likely be too much sorrow to bear -- with some inspiring words from Nurse Judy, Blanca fights off her infection, but keeps in mind how low her T cell count truly is. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "In With the New: 5 Key Takeaways From 'Pose' Season 2 Finale," 21 Aug. 2019 When Innis Dagg suddenly loses her composure in front of the camera, many women in the audience clearly felt the same mix of frustration and sorrow for her, and possibly for themselves. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "“Tenure Not Granted”: A new film honors a woman science forgot," 23 Jan. 2020 Larger question: Does anyone want a bitter and brutal Star Trek, full of murder-sorrow flashbacks, swoopy-kinetic fights, and all-encompassing paranoia? Darren Franich,, "Can Star Trek: Picard recover from its bafflingly bad premiere?," 23 Jan. 2020 Planning our wedding ceremony together with our officiant actually helped me feel happier and provided balance to the pangs of sorrow that would pop up. NBC News, "I learned how to navigate grief while celebrating a big life event," 18 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Combining formal audacity with emotional intimacy and sharp social observation, the picture attains a fullness of humorous, sorrowing life. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "Artist Noah Davis died tragically at age 32. A New York show reveals a great lost talent.," 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,, "In Our Midst: Gabriel Wheaton’s classical, contemporary, opulent and wildly eclectic one-man band," 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,, "All the Restaurants Where You Can Get Free Food on Tax Day," 9 Apr. 2018 In some places, lynchings were accompanied by mob destruction of black business districts, adding economic devastation to sorrow. Vanessa Gregory, New York Times, "A Lynching’s Long Shadow," 25 Apr. 2018 Ashton Kutcher isn’t the type to drown his breakup sorrows with a carton of ice cream and a box of tissues. Mike Miller,, "Ashton Kutcher Fasted for a Week in the Woods After Demi Moore Divorce: 'I Started to Hallucinate'," 20 Feb. 2018 A skull, a crucifix and the suggestion of a sorrowing Rubenesque nude press in on a naked man (possibly the artist) who may be leaving them behind. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Painting From the 1980s, When Brash Met Flash," 9 Feb. 2017

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sorrow

Last Updated

27 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sorrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for sorrow


How to pronounce sorrow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sorrow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of sadness or grief caused especially by the loss of someone or something
: a cause of grief or sadness



English Language Learners Definition of sorrow (Entry 2 of 2)

formal + literary : to feel or express 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sorrow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sorrow

Spanish Central: Translation of sorrow

Nglish: Translation of sorrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sorrow for Arabic Speakers

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