Definition of tragedy
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 terrorb : the literary genre of tragic dramasc : 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
Recent Examples of tragedy from the Web
This is a Shakespearean tragedy; this is a fall from grace that is both unfortunate and well deserved.
Even during the most intense tragedies, Joel said, he was sustained by the notion that God was in control of the details of his life.
The United Nations has declared a famine in parts of South Sudan, and says the other two nations are in danger of suffering the same tragedy.
This tragedy underscores the brutality of this terrorist organization.
Byron's stories about his own life and about Nelson Mandela mesh private tragedy with the national traumas endured by South Africans of color struggling for freedom and dignity.
Ever since the Hindenburg tragedy ended the golden age of airships, inventors have struggled to bring them back.
It’s all hands on deck aboard the Star of India as sailors hone their shipboard skills to the cadence of songs recounting the adventure, tragedy and romance of life at sea.
As USA Today reports, several artists including Blondie and Take That have canceled shows in the London area in wake of the tragedy.
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.
TRAGEDY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tragedy for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of tragedy for Students
1 : a disastrous event
2 : a serious play that has a sad or disastrous ending
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up tragedy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).