sor·​ry | \ ˈsär-ē How to pronounce sorry (audio) , ˈsȯr- \
sorrier; sorriest

Definition of sorry

1a : feeling sorrow or sympathy I'm so sorry for your loss. We were very sorry to hear the news. She felt sorry for him. [=she felt sympathy and concern for him because of his situation, problems, etc.] He told me to stop feeling sorry for myself. [=to stop indulging in self-pity]
b : feeling regret or penitence He was sorry about what he had said. "I wanted to apologize," she said, "for my abominable rudeness in laughing at you just now. It was idiotic of me and I don't know why I did it. I'm sorry."— P. G. Wodehouse "… I'm so sorry, but the tongs were too hot, and so I've made a mess," groaned poor Jo, regarding the little black pancakes with tears of regret.— Louisa May Alcott I am sorry we have ever differed, and extremely sorry I have ever given you offence.— Charles Dickens used to express polite regret I'm sorry, but I think you're wrong.I'm sorry to interrupt you. used to introduce disappointing or bad news in a polite way I'm sorry, but we won't be able to come. used as an apology for a minor fault or offense Oh, sorry—that was clumsy of me.I'm late again. Sorry about that. [=I'm sorry; I apologize]
2 : mournful, sad Rilla remembered one moonlit evening of childhood when she had said to her mother, "The moon just looks like a sorry, sorry face."— Lucy Maud Montgomery
3 : inspiring sorrow, pity, scorn, or ridicule : pitiful Their affairs were in a sorry state. Lawrence blushed, and then smiled awkwardly. A man in love is a sorry spectacle.— Agatha Christie In view of the sorry treatment of the Native Americans of the US, it is time that their voice was heard a little more clearly in contemporary American society.— Tim Flannery … had been on her way to work when her rusted-out, … sorry excuse for a car … choked on its last drop of gasoline, then died.— Ingrid Law

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Other Words from sorry

sorrily \ ˈsär-​ə-​lē How to pronounce sorry (audio) , ˈsȯr-​ \ adverb
sorriness \ ˈsär-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce sorry (audio) , ˈsȯr-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sorry

contemptible, despicable, pitiable, sorry, scurvy mean arousing or deserving scorn. contemptible may imply any quality provoking scorn or a low standing in any scale of values. a contemptible liar despicable may imply utter worthlessness and usually suggests arousing an attitude of moral indignation. a despicable crime pitiable applies to what inspires mixed contempt and pity. a pitiable attempt at tragedy sorry may stress pitiable inadequacy or may suggest wretchedness or sordidness. this rattletrap is a sorry excuse for a car scurvy adds to despicable an implication of arousing disgust. a scurvy crew of hangers-on

Examples of sorry in a Sentence

I'm sorry if I offended you. She was sorry to hear about their divorce. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry for saying that. I'm sorry that I wasted your time. What a sorry state of affairs we're in now. That's the sorriest excuse I've heard.
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Recent Examples on the Web Leaving this episode, this group does indeed feel like our top six (sorry Elliott). Paul Mccallion, Vulture, "RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: The Spy Who Dragged Me," 8 Jan. 2021 Terri Nunn is really sorry for her New Year’s Eve gig. Los Angeles Times, "Berlin singer Terri Nunn apologizes for playing Trump party on New Year’s Eve," 5 Jan. 2021 This was due in part to my infidelities which often resulted in verbal disputes among us and am sorry for the pain my indiscretions may have caused. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "MLB investigating former All-Star Omar Vizquel over domestic abuse allegations," 16 Dec. 2020 Fitte, a fourth-year coach at his alma mater, felt sorry for the five seniors among his 32 players who would not get another chance to play. Chris Dabe,, "South Plaquemines forfeits second-round playoff football game because of coronavirus," 3 Dec. 2020 The few celebs who supported Trump spent time attacking fellow entertainers for their politics or bemoaning the sorry fate of conservatives in Hollywood. USA Today, "2021 has to be better for Hollywood, because it can’t get any worse," 30 Dec. 2020 My generation can’t afford to have or raise a child, sorry. Melanie Hamlett, Glamour, "29 Comebacks to ‘So Why Don’t You Have Kids Yet?’," 22 Dec. 2020 Looks like Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn—sorry, William Bowery—have become quite the productive songwriting duo! Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Joe Alwyn Co-Wrote 3 Songs on Taylor Swift's Surprise New Album 'Evermore'," 11 Dec. 2020 Soon after, dance challenges flooded TikTok feeds everywhere, and sorry was the city block that didn't have this song blasting outside of a nearby window or a passing car. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Megan Thee Stallion Thanks Republicans for Their "WAP" Criticism," 10 Dec. 2020

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

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

History and Etymology for sorry

Middle English sory, from Old English sārig, from sār sore

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Time Traveler for sorry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sorry

Last Updated

2 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sorry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for sorry



English Language Learners Definition of sorry

: feeling sorrow or regret
used to express polite regret
used to introduce disappointing or bad news in a polite way


sor·​ry | \ ˈsär-ē How to pronounce sorry (audio) \
sorrier; sorriest

Kids Definition of sorry

1 : feeling sorrow or regret I'm sorry I lied.
2 : causing sorrow, pity, or scorn : pitiful a sorry sight a sorry excuse

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More from Merriam-Webster on sorry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sorry

Nglish: Translation of sorry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sorry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sorry

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