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 Our hearts are filled with sorrow for the Winston family. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Albion College's Zachary Winston dies; police say he purposely stepped in front of train," 11 Nov. 2019 In the black Church, the sorrow and hope of slave spirituals were institutionalized and embossed into works through which soloists could reach seemingly unthinkable heights with the firm anchoring of a community. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Kanye West Strains His Voice on Jesus Is King," 29 Oct. 2019 The music expresses sorrow and induces the euphoria that relieves it. Timothy O'grady, Condé Nast Traveler, "In New Orleans, Life Is at Full Blast," 14 Oct. 2019 May her soul fly free at last, unburdened now by the sorrows of the world. Los Angeles Times, "‘House Hunters’ host Suzanne Whang dead at 56 after cancer fight," 20 Sep. 2019 Julian Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio who is also seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, expressed sorrow and called for gun law reform. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "El Paso native Beto O'Rourke rushes back home as Texans, others react to massacre," 3 Aug. 2019 The mother also expressed sorrow for Black's mother, whose life has been altered as well. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man sentenced to 25 years in prison after dispute between bowling friends turned to homicide," 26 June 2019 That is the formula of, like, The Walking Dead, a goresoaked death parade baked in sentimental sorrow. Darren Franich,, "The Mandalorian wants to be your family-friendly ultraviolent Star Wars," 12 Nov. 2019 Maine Family Planning chief executive George Hill said in a letter to HHS that his organization is withdrawing ‘‘more in sorrow than in anger’’ after 47 years of participating in the program. David Crary,, "Planned Parenthood leaves federal family planning program," 19 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sorrow.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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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

Comments on sorrow

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delight or enjoyment

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