sor·​row·​ful | \ ˈsär-(ˌ)ō-fəl How to pronounce sorrowful (audio) , -ə-fəl, ˈsȯr- \

Definition of sorrowful

1 : full of or marked by sorrow a sorrowful goodbye
2 : expressive of or inducing sorrow sorrowful eyes

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Other Words from sorrowful

sorrowfully \ ˈsär-​(ˌ)ō-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce sorrowful (audio) , -​ə-​f(ə-​)lē , ˈsȯr-​ \ adverb
sorrowfulness \ ˈsär-​(ˌ)ō-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce sorrowful (audio) , -​ə-​fəl-​ , ˈsȯr-​ \ noun

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 Her sorrowful face, cast in shadows, looks heavenward. Los Angeles Times, "Getty acquires a major painting by a 17th-century feminist heroine. How you can see it," 29 Mar. 2021 This isn’t a lowlight so much as an acknowledgment that the event was often deeply sorrowful. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, "The Highs and Lows of NYTW’s 25 Years of Rent Benefit," 3 Mar. 2021 One friend FaceTime-d with her kids from the other room during her entire 14-day quarantine—a bleak but poignant memory that her kids will doubtless hang on to from this strange and sorrowful time. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "The Year I Spent Texting My Husband From 15 Feet Away," 2 Mar. 2021 This year perhaps more than ever before, the college essay has served as a canvas for high school seniors to reflect on a turbulent and, for many, sorrowful year. New York Times, "‘When Normal Life Stopped’: College Essays Reflect a Turbulent Year," 17 Mar. 2021 The sorrowful tune was written in the 1940s by Fred Rose and previously recorded by Roy Acuff and Hank Williams. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Watch Willie Nelson and Shania Twain Perform “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” in This Moving Throwback," 10 Mar. 2021 President Biden, marking the sorrowful milestone Monday evening, urged the nation to honor the dead by observing public health measures to help bring an end to the pandemic. Los Angeles Times, "A sorrowful U.S. death toll of 500,000 from COVID-19: ‘Not just another number’," 22 Feb. 2021 The results could be predictable, occasionally shocking, and sometimes sorrowful or luminous. Alissa Quart, The New Republic, "Michael Apted Took The Very Long View," 12 Jan. 2021 Each remembrance has been equally joyful and sorrowful. Nr Symposium, National Review, "Men of Heroic Virtue Can Live in the World Today — Andrew Walther Did," 6 Dec. 2020

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

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

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Time Traveler for sorrowful

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

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Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sorrowful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for sorrowful



English Language Learners Definition of sorrowful

formal + literary : feeling or showing sadness : full of sorrow


sor·​row·​ful | \ ˈsär-ō-fəl How to pronounce sorrowful (audio) , -ə-fəl \

Kids Definition of sorrowful

1 : full of or showing sadness a sorrowful face
2 : causing sadness a sorrowful tale

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Comments on sorrowful

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