tragedy

noun
trag·​e·​dy | \ ˈtra-jə-dē How to pronounce tragedy (audio) \
plural tragedies

Definition of tragedy

1a : a disastrous event : calamity
2a : a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (such as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror
b : the literary genre of tragic dramas
c : a medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great man
3 : tragic quality or element

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Examples of tragedy in a Sentence

Her son's death was a terrible tragedy. The situation ended in tragedy when the gunman shot and killed two students. The biggest tragedy here is that the accident could have easily been prevented. “Hamlet” is one of Shakespeare's best-known tragedies. The students are studying Greek tragedy. an actor who is drawn to tragedy
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Recent Examples on the Web

Now, Luke and Caroline share two children together and took in three more after a family tragedy. Tamara Fuentes, Country Living, "Luke Bryan and His Wife Caroline Boyer Have the Most Relatable Love Story," 28 Mar. 2019 Just two days after Luke Perry's death at age 52, his two children, Jack and Sophie, have posted on their social media accounts to give tribute to their father — and to express their surprise and agony at the shocking tragedy. Kaitlin Menza, Woman's Day, "Luke Perry's Children Posted Tributes to Their Dad on Instagram," 6 Mar. 2019 Trump makes a connection between this tragedy and the need for a border wall when the facts in the case do not yet establish whether a wall would have made a difference. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "President Donald Trump Tweeted Incessantly Over the Holiday Break," 2 Jan. 2019 This year, one of those tragedies took place at a Madden tournament in Florida. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Talk amongst yourselves: 2018’s most-commented stories on Ars," 24 Dec. 2018 But amid the tragedy and chaos, public health officials have accomplished a remarkable feat: for the first time in history, an experimental Ebola vaccine is being rolled out at a large scale, potentially preventing infections and saving lives. Brian Resnick, Vox, "10 science stories in 2018 that made us go, “Whoa, that’s awesome”," 18 Dec. 2018 How Atwood, who lived at a nearby group home, came to be lying on the roadway is part of the broader tragedy and investigation. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "This flaming 8-ball decal may help solve a hit-and-run mystery," 12 July 2018 Toni Collette is Oscar-worthy brilliant as an artist who suffers great tragedy and, while recovering, learns a little more about her late mother than maybe was ideal. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Here are the best movies of 2018 (so far)," 11 July 2018 The developments mark the latest bizarre turn in the strange mix of tragedy and scandal that have engulfed Mr. Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man, X-Men and Black Panther, since the death of his wife, Joan Lee, in July. Matt Stevens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Restraining order issued against Stan Lee’s supposed caregiver," 14 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2c

History and Etymology for tragedy

Middle English tragedie, from Middle French, from Latin tragoedia, from Greek tragōidia, from tragos goat (akin to Greek trōgein to gnaw) + aeidein to sing — more at troglodyte, ode

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Statistics for tragedy

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tragedy

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

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More Definitions for tragedy

tragedy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tragedy

: a very bad event that causes great sadness and often involves someone's death
: a very sad, unfortunate, or upsetting situation : something that causes strong feelings of sadness or regret
: a play, movie, etc., that is serious and has a sad ending (such as the death of the main character)

tragedy

noun
trag·​e·​dy | \ ˈtra-jə-dē How to pronounce tragedy (audio) \
plural tragedies

Kids Definition of tragedy

1 : a disastrous event
2 : a serious play that has a sad or disastrous ending

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More from Merriam-Webster on tragedy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tragedy

Spanish Central: Translation of tragedy

Nglish: Translation of tragedy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tragedy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tragedy

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