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 Yet as the nation nears 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — far more than all those tragic events combined or the entire Vietnam War — there is little sense this Memorial Day weekend that Americans are grieving together or uniting in a sense of purpose. Author: Noah Bierman, Eli Stokols, Anchorage Daily News, "Little sense of shared grief as virus deaths near 100,000," 22 May 2020 The direct effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are tragic. Emma Mckim Mitchell, STAT, "All women should have access to the at-home test that can provide early detection of cervical cancer," 22 May 2020 The outcome in this instance was tragic: the husband didn’t make it to the hospital and the wife was in critical condition. Claire Gillespie,, "Please, We Beg You, Do Not Try to Make Hydroxychloroquine At Home," 22 May 2020 The tragic events unfolded on a state highway, following a harrowing kidnapping and car chase. Kc Baker,, "'Angelic’ Miss. Mom Set to Graduate College in December Is Killed by Boyfriend in Murder-Suicide," 19 May 2020 Our hearts this morning are with the families who lost loved ones during these tragic events. Vandana Rambaran, Fox News, "Protests after deadly Indianapolis police chase, shootout leave at least 3 dead," 8 May 2020 There has also been no shortage of tragic events, deaths, and storms that have brought Texans together. Daniela Sternitzky-di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "This is what Texas looked like the year you were born," 12 Mar. 2020 Even though the scene was tragic, the surroundings were much more pleasant than usual. The Economist, "India’s lockdown has brought unexpected benefits," 23 Apr. 2020 And don’t expect that that uncertainty must be tragic. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "My Body Is Not a Temple," 16 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tragic

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tragic

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tragic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for tragic


How to pronounce tragic (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tragic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tragic

Spanish Central: Translation of tragic

Nglish: Translation of tragic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tragic for Arabic Speakers

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