tra·​ge·​di·​an | \ trə-ˈjē-dē-ən How to pronounce tragedian (audio) \

Definition of tragedian

1 : a writer of tragedies
2 : an actor specializing in tragic roles

Examples of tragedian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Over two millennia ago, the Athenian tragedian Sophocles first described the archetype in his portraits of an angry and old but still fearsome Ajax, and heroic but stubborn and self-fixated Antigone. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Will Trump Ride Off into the Sunset?," 12 Nov. 2020 New York Eugene O’Neill, the dour tragedian of 20th-century American theater, was the least likely of men to have tucked a warmhearted family comedy in between his bleak tales of life at its direst. Terry Teachout, WSJ, "‘Ah, Wilderness!’ Review: Comedy That Passes the No-Budget Test," 31 Jan. 2019 Euripides, the most irreverent of the Greek tragedians, cuts these Homeric figures down to size. Charles Mcnulty,, "'Iphigenia in Aulis' at Getty Villa: Chasing the ever-elusive Euripides," 8 Sep. 2017 Yes, a cast of eight — a big number for a straight play these days, with a big story to tell that evokes the style of such classic American tragedians as Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams. Christopher Arnott,, "'The Tempest' At Playhouse On Park; 'Love's Labour's Lost' In Ridgefield," 3 Aug. 2017 The name of the island is true to myth, which suggests that someone at DC Comics has been knuckling down to Herodotus and the Greek tragedians. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Top Ten Things About Wonder Woman," 5 June 2017 There was plenty of rich material here for tragedians to debate. Mary Beard, New York Times, "A Pair of Updated Greek Tragedies Startle Us Anew," 11 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tragedian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of tragedian

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tragedian

Middle English tragedien, from Middle French, from tragedie

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tragedian

Time Traveler for tragedian

Time Traveler

The first known use of tragedian was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for tragedian

Cite this Entry

“Tragedian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tragedian



English Language Learners Definition of tragedian

: a person who writes tragedies
: an actor who often plays tragic roles

More from Merriam-Webster on tragedian

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tragedian

Britannica English: Translation of tragedian for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tragedian

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!