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

On Friday, the Dawson's Creek star shared a photo of himself and Kimberly cradling a napping Gwendolyn, describing in the caption their experiences with multiple miscarriages and making a thoughtful case for renaming the tragic event. Andrea Park, Allure, "James Van Der Beek Opened Up About Wife Kimberly Brook's 3 Miscarriages In a Heartfelt Instagram Post," 10 Sep. 2018 But the important point is that not since the tragic events of the 1960s has there been a major ship fire at sea. John Mccain, Popular Mechanics, "Fire on the Flight Deck," 27 Aug. 2018 The tragic event is approaching its 100th anniversary and is a story too seldom told. Aubrey Nagle,, "Philly preps for the Fourth, Allentown Cadets march on | Morning Newsletter," 3 July 2018 But there was little talk about the tragic incident that took his life. Andrea K. Mcdaniels,, "Friends, family, co-workers honor Capital Gazette victim Rob Hiaasen," 2 July 2018 Miller’s daring as a war photographer is impressive; her decline after the war, now attributed to post-traumatic stress, is tragic. Karen Wilkin, WSJ, "‘The Lives of the Surrealists’ and ‘Farewell to the Muse’ Review: Postcards From the Unconscious," 18 May 2018 The potential wall between the two countries looms as a specter throughout the production, while Quixote and Sancho see firsthand the often tragic consequences for those trying to cross over through the stretches of harsh, unforgiving desert lands. Marcus Crowder,, "Former ‘Sesame Street’ star makes Cal Shakes’ ‘Quixote Nuevo’ an instant classic," 18 June 2018 One is all light and all heart, and the other is tragic and dark with no hope. Eliza Berman, Time, "Toni Collette on Going Maternal and Maniacal for Her New Horror Hit Hereditary," 7 June 2018 Oh, and there's also the fact that this plot features Leia heavily, despite Carrie Fisher's tragic death in 2016. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "Cantina Talk: Life After Solo May or May Not Include a Lando Movie," 21 May 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

12 Nov 2018

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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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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).


noxious or harmful

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