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

Definition of sorry

1 : feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence
3 : inspiring sorrow, pity, scorn, or ridicule : pitiful their affairs were in a sorry state

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Other Words from sorry

sorrily \ ˈsär-​ə-​lē How to pronounce sorrily (audio) , ˈsȯr-​ \ adverb
sorriness \ ˈsär-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce sorriness (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 Demi Lovato isn’t sorry at all about her confident Instagram post. Christina Oehler,, "Demi Lovato’s Instagram Cellulite Photo Is Inspiring Fans to Post Their Own," 9 Sep. 2019 But beyond that, the conversations and focus have to be on transforming people, encouraging men to behave better and be sorry for bad actions. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A year on, #MeToo has lost momentum in India but we must keep the conversation going," 4 Sep. 2019 In time, the West shifted away in dismay, imposing sanctions the government rails against to this day and blames in part for the country’s sorry economic state. Washington Post, "A look at the shattered Zimbabwe that Mugabe left as leader," 8 Sep. 2019 The whole Yondr process might go super smoothly, and not cause any backup — but better safe than sorry, right? Jim Harrington, The Mercury News, "What will happen to your cell phone at Raconteurs concerts in Oakland," 23 July 2019 Not sorry for all the Curbed links; there’s a lot to read this week! Kelsey Keith, Curbed, "My wallpaper cheat sheet," 16 Aug. 2019 All while laughing out loud and maybe even feeling sorry for the poor sap. Meredith Blake,, "Matthew Macfadyen is as mortified by ‘Succession’ as you are," 12 Aug. 2019 The warrior will never feel sorry for himself and never ask for help except maybe from his brothers. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Zac Brown Band’s New Song 'Warrior' Is a Powerful Tribute to the U.S. Military," 12 Aug. 2019 But if college grads’ debts have hardly even nicked their income advantage over the less fortunate, there is little reason to feel especially sorry for them as a group and no reason to start chucking other people’s money at them. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Myths of Student-Loan Debt," 11 July 2019

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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Statistics for sorry

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for sorry

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

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More Definitions for sorry


How to pronounce sorry (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sorry

Spanish Central: Translation of sorry

Nglish: Translation of sorry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sorry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sorry

What made you want to look up sorry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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