trag·​ic | \ ˈtra-jik \
variants: or less commonly tragical \ ˈtra-​ji-​kəl \

Definition of tragic 

1a : regrettably serious or unpleasant : deplorable, lamentable a tragic mistake
b : marked by a sense of tragedy
2 : of, marked by, or expressive of tragedy the tragic significance of the atomic bomb— H. S. Truman
3a : dealing with or treated in tragedy the tragic hero
b : appropriate to or typical of tragedy

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Other Words from tragic

tragically \ ˈtra-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of tragic in a Sentence

Their deaths were tragic and untimely. They both died in a tragic car accident. Romeo and Juliet's tragic love affair. We saw a tragic play about a man with AIDS. the tragic characters of her novel
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Recent Examples on the Web

Waymo Amidst stunning breakthroughs and tragic failures, for self-driving vehicles, 2018 was the year of yes, but... Alissa Walker, Curbed, "The good, the bad, and the ugly of self-driving cars in 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 With the brain of a 65-year-old, his death serves as a tragic reminder that CTE is not limited to athletes who have played out their careers. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Complete History of the Autopsy," 26 Dec. 2018 The writing and voice acting are movie-quality good, and the story’s tragic arc is engrossing to the end. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 The two performed together at the One Love Manchester concert, a benefit that followed the tragic terrorist attack at Grande's concert in May 2017. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Here's How Miley Cyrus Had Ariana Grande's Back After Her Split With Pete Davidson," 23 Dec. 2018 Getty ImagesMax Mumby/Indigo Yesterday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a private visit to the Hubb Community Kitchen, the home of Meghan's first charity initiative that supports victims of last summer's tragic Grenfell Tower fires. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Adele Joined Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the Hubb Community Kitchen," 21 Dec. 2018 Frank Randall is perhaps Outlander's most tragic character. Expertly portrayed by actor Tobias Menzies, Frank is flawed and inextricably linked in the mind of the viewer to his sadistic ancestor, Black Jack Randall. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "What Tobias Menzies's Return to Outlander Reveals About Frank Randall," 17 Dec. 2018 As if that wasn't tragic enough, Benny passed away just minutes before Severide arrived at the hospital to say his final goodbyes. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'Chicago Fire' Shocked Everyone With This Devastating Death," 5 Nov. 2018 Months after the tragic collapse of Genoa’s Morandi Bridge that killed 43 people, the Italian city is making plans to replace it. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Renzo Piano reveals design to replace collapsed Genoa bridge," 21 Dec. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tragic

Middle English, from Latin tragicus, from Greek tragikos, irregular from tragōidia tragedy

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Statistics for tragic

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tragic

The first known use of tragic was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for tragic



English Language Learners Definition of tragic

: causing strong feelings of sadness usually because someone has died in a way that seems very shocking, unfair, etc.

: involving very sad or serious topics : of or relating to tragedy


trag·​ic | \ ˈtra-jik \

Kids Definition of tragic

1 : very unfortunate a tragic mistake
2 : of or relating to tragedy a tragic drama

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More from Merriam-Webster on tragic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tragic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tragic

Spanish Central: Translation of tragic

Nglish: Translation of tragic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tragic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tragic

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


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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