tragi·​com·​e·​dy | \ ˌtra-ji-ˈkä-mə-dē How to pronounce tragicomedy (audio) \

Definition of tragicomedy

: a drama or a situation blending tragic and comic elements

Examples of tragicomedy in a Sentence

The play is a tragicomedy about a man's search for love.
Recent Examples on the Web One can be cautiously optimistic that, should a supermajority of states endure the unpleasantness of every available intervention even as the curve flattens and declines, this will eventually conclude as a tragicomedy, not as Hamlet. Chris Wilson, Time, "The U.S. Has Flattened the Curve. Next Up Is 'Squashing' It — and That's Not Going Well," 28 Apr. 2020 This poignant tragicomedy, about a beloved children’s television host (Jim Carrey) who strains to keep his brand intact as his personal life crumbles, has plenty of life left in it. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Sunday: ‘Kidding’ and ‘The Outsider’," 8 Mar. 2020 Life Is Beautiful’ The Italian actor Roberto Benigni directed and starred in this tragicomedy, about an Italian Jew who is interned in a Nazi concentration camp but who convinces his son that the horrors around them are all part of a silly game. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "These 10 Foreign Language Films Have Been Nominated for Best Picture," 10 Feb. 2020 The Dumb Waiter Sunscreen Theatricals stages Harold Pinter’s classic 1959 tragicomedy about two hit men awaiting the arrival of their next victim. Matt Cooper, Los Angeles Times, "Theater in L.A. this week: ‘Miss Saigon’ and more," 29 Sep. 2019 That’s one way of looking at Bess Wohl’s tragicomedy featuring four siblings, ages 5 through 12. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Best Theater of 2019," 3 Dec. 2019 And speaking of tragicomedies, The Farewell was also ignored. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "12 Snubs and Surprises from the 2020 Oscar Nominations," 14 Jan. 2020 Sure, and have the rest of my life be a tragicomedy of nicotine withdrawal. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Art of Dying," 16 Dec. 2019 Badura-Skoda catches, in alternating delicate notes with dark bass punctuations, the almost unbearably intimate tragicomedy of the long second movement to Haydn’s Sonata No. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What Paul Badura-Skoda Did for Classical Piano," 30 Sep. 2019

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

circa 1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tragicomedy

Middle French tragicomedie, from Old Italian tragicomedia, from Old Spanish, from Latin tragicomoedia, from tragicus + comoedia comedy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tragicomedy

Time Traveler for tragicomedy

Time Traveler

The first known use of tragicomedy was circa 1580

See more words from the same year

Statistics for tragicomedy

Cite this Entry

“Tragicomedy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tragicomedy


How to pronounce tragicomedy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tragicomedy

: a play, movie, situation, etc., that is both sad and funny

More from Merriam-Webster on tragicomedy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tragicomedy Encyclopedia article about tragicomedy

Comments on tragicomedy

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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