sor·​row·​ful ˈsär-(ˌ)ō-fəl How to pronounce sorrowful (audio)
: full of or marked by sorrow
a sorrowful goodbye
: expressive of or inducing sorrow
sorrowful eyes
ˈsär-(ˌ)ō-f(ə-)lē How to pronounce sorrowful (audio)
ˈsär-(ˌ)ō-fəl-nəs How to pronounce sorrowful (audio)

Examples of sorrowful in a Sentence

adopted a sorrowful tone of voice to read the news story about the former governor's death the cult seemed to be a sorrowful assemblage of emotionally scarred people seeking love and redemption
Recent Examples on the Web For all its fizzing energy, this is a sorrowful film — sorry for the girls, sorry for the guys — keyed into the sadness that lurks in day-glo places, pool parties, dance podiums and the overlit cosmetics aisle of an airport duty-free shop. Jessica Kiang, Los Angeles Times, 2 Feb. 2024 Meditative and fascinating, sylvester’s show is a quiet communal exploration wrapped around a central core of sorrowful outrage. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 25 Jan. 2024 For those actors who consider crying to be the sine qua non of their art, a sorrowful biography offers a distinct advantage in the Method acting sweepstakes. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2024 Mulligan’s Sissy, a lounge singer, was sorrowful and also boundary-less. Kate Aurthur, Variety, 10 Dec. 2023 Megan Fox likes to write at night, after 2 a.m., with candles lit and sorrowful violin music playing. Maya Layne, Vogue, 7 Nov. 2023 But the hunt also is a distraction from the sorrowful situation facing one of the foursome and deeply affecting them all. Karen MacPherson, Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2023 Some of his dialogue scenes — including a riveting colloquy between the questing Marianne and the questioning bishop — have the shape, rhythm and sorrowful wit of a Sondheim song. Jesse Green, New York Times, 22 Oct. 2023 Advertisement The facility’s staff includes military reservists and career army officers who rushed to rejoin the ranks in this emergency; a former chief military rabbi, Israel Weiss, 74, came out of retirement to preside over the sorrowful task. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sorrowful.' 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

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of sorrowful was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near sorrowful

Cite this Entry

“Sorrowful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


sor·​row·​ful ˈsär-ō-fəl How to pronounce sorrowful (audio)
: full of or showing sorrow
a sorrowful good-bye
: expressive of or causing sorrow
sorrowful eyes
sorrowfully adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on sorrowful

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