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

Keep scrolling for more

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 what started as a normal family outing quickly turned to tragedy when a drunk driver ran a red light at an intersection and crashed into the family’s vehicle. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "College Students Make Bionic Hands for Boy, 10, Burned in Crash That Killed His Dad and Siblings," 6 June 2019 Roberson’s family noted that Jemel’s desire to become a police officer added to the tragedy of his death. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A black security guard caught a shooting suspect — only to be shot by police minutes later," 23 Jan. 2019 His brother, Stevante, gained national attention for his response to the tragedy — specifically for a confrontation at a Sacramento City Council meeting. Lincoln Anthony Blades, Teen Vogue, "Stevante Clark is Running for Mayor of Sacramento," 3 Jan. 2019 Getty Images As the latest string of California wildfires continue to burn and devastate the state, Queen Elizabeth has issued an official response to the tragedy. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The Queen Issued an Official Statement to Donald Trump About the California Wildfires," 18 Nov. 2018 The reassignment is unrelated to the February 14 tragedy. Wells Dusenbury, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Stoneman Douglas football coach Willis May back with team after reassignment," 5 July 2018 The couple would soon find themselves with a front-row seat to the unfolding tragedy. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Granite Mountain Hotshots: An untold story from the day 19 firefighters died," 23 June 2018 According to USA Today, students were angry that the tragedy was being politicized. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Students Walked Out of a Vigil for the STEM School Highlands Ranch Shooting After Politicians Spoke," 9 May 2019 This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Fashion Luxury Groups, Kering and LVMH, Pledge Combined 300 Million Euros to Repair Notre Dame," 16 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tragedy

Statistics for tragedy

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tragedy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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