trag·​ic | \ ˈtra-jik How to pronounce tragic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly tragical \ ˈtra-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce tragical (audio) \

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 How to pronounce tragically (audio) \ 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

Robin Williams: When the Laughter Stops (Reelz at 9) The life and work of Robin Williams and the tragic end that few saw coming. Nina Zafar, Washington Post, "This weekend’s best TV: ‘My Favorite Shapes by Julio Torres’ on HBO," 10 Aug. 2019 Firstly, Bob’s daughter was grief-stricken at the loss of her mom, and the very thought of us together was tragic for her. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "Eloping Abroad: 7 Couples on What It Meant to Them," 9 Aug. 2019 But Pecola’s bad sense comes with bad luck and her tale is tragic: she is raped by her father and descends into madness. The Economist, "Toni Morrison was the Nobel prizewinning chronicler of African-American life," 7 Aug. 2019 Elaine Zupancic, Denver The death of cyclist Alexis Bounds is tragic. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Make room for cycling, make cycling more visible; Zero-emission vehicles good for some, not others; Who was disparaged, Baltimore or president? (8/4/19)," 5 Aug. 2019 Scientists are not entirely certain why these tragic events occur. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Georgia Beachgoers Help Save Pod of Stranded Pilot Whales," 19 July 2019 When Bacon’s life came to a tragic end in that Venice bean field on Sept. 12, 1943, his final feature film was playing in theaters. Wendy Grossman Kantor,, "Who killed the Masked Marvel?," 27 June 2019 Gerdes saw that the work’s sudden halts, restarts and giddy climbs surged forward to its tragic end. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Rare works shine in La Jolla Symphony & Chorus’ season-closing concert," 11 June 2019 These illnesses can be tragic for families and cost insurers millions per child. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, "George Church Wants to Make Genetic Matchmaking a Reality," 15 Apr. 2019

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

20 Aug 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 How to pronounce tragic (audio) \

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).


of or relating to the heavens

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