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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web But the pain of the Ulvade tragedy hit the survivor of the 2012 shooting at Chardon High School differently. Brenda Cain, cleveland, 3 June 2022 Right now, the Texas Rangers are investigating the mass tragedy. Chris Boyette, CNN, 2 June 2022 An unfathomable family tragedy eventually led Clark to make the decision to retire. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, 2 June 2022 In the Uvalde shooting, the tragedy followed a familiar form. Linda Darling-hammond, Forbes, 2 June 2022 The shooting is the latest high-profile shooting tragedy after one in Buffalo last month killed 10 and a shooting in Texas killed 21, including mostly children. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 2 June 2022 While officials and law enforcement are on high alert in response to the shooting in Uvalde, the Santa Clarita community experienced its own tragedy nearly three years ago. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2022 John Callion, 33, a Marathon tarpon guide, saw the tragedy unfold from his boat and sprang into action to try to save the family, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office 911 call log. al, 1 June 2022 Lawmakers have expressed some interest in a possible special session in the aftermath of the Uvalde tragedy, most vocally state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde. Eva Ruth Moravec, Washington Post, 1 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

6 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tragedy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for tragedy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on tragedy

Nglish: Translation of tragedy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tragedy for Arabic Speakers


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