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

There are three things fashion people love: eccentrics, glamour, and tragicomedy – that perverse play of humor and sadness so loved in the British (and camp) comedy cannon that we Americans can't get enough of., "Why Fashion People Love Cult Film Grey Gardens," 3 July 2018 For Rayside, the tragicomedy has remained a popular story precisely because of its unbelievable elements. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of “A Very English Scandal” and the Trials of a Closeted Gay Politician," 27 June 2018 Below and beyond the tragicomedy, in this translation from the Spanish by Edith Grossman, Vargas Llosa is pressing a familiar point. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "A Pulpy New Novel and Juiceless Old Essays From Mario Vargas Llosa," 19 Feb. 2018 The Right Brain Project presents Nicky Silver's sprawling 1995 tragicomedy about twin siblings trying to make peace with their past and with each other. Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader, "Raised in Captivity loses its way amid excessive subplots," 4 May 2018 Iannucci refers to it as a tragicomedy, folding the horror of this world right up next to absurd comedy. Katie Walsh, idahostatesman, "Armando Iannucci’s ‘The Death of Stalin’ a mix of absurd, tragic comedy | Idaho Statesman," 5 Apr. 2018 If this sounds a bit heady for a rollicking tragicomedy in which pratfalls and death throes are tumbled together, that is part of the play’s unusual scheme. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Amateurs’ Takes On God, Noah’s Ark and the Plague. For Laughs.," 27 Feb. 2018 The December tragicomedy cost $11 million and made $45 million worldwide. Chris Ball,, "Margot Robbie in 'I, Tonya,' now on DVD and Blu-ray (review)," 25 Mar. 2018 But while Iannucci whips up a fever-pitch frenzy, his film is not a farce, but a tragicomedy. Christopher Kompanek, Houston Chronicle, "Film review: 'Stalin' stings many targets," 21 Mar. 2018

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

Statistics for tragicomedy

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tragicomedy

The first known use of tragicomedy was circa 1580

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tragicomedy



English Language Learners Definition of tragicomedy

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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).


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!