\ ˈwō \

Definition of woe 

(Entry 1 of 2)

used to express grief, regret, or distress

woe

noun

Definition of woe (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief

2 : ruinous trouble : calamity, affliction economic woes

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Choose the Right Synonym for woe

Noun

sorrow, grief, anguish, woe, regret mean distress of mind. sorrow implies a sense of loss or a sense of guilt and remorse. a family united in sorrow upon the patriarch's death grief implies poignant sorrow for an immediate cause. the inexpressible grief of the bereaved parents anguish suggests torturing grief or dread. the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child woe is deep or inconsolable grief or misery. cries of woe echoed throughout the bombed city regret implies pain caused by deep disappointment, fruitless longing, or unavailing remorse. nagging regret for missed opportunities

Examples of woe in a Sentence

Interjection

ah, woe, with the death of the last of my siblings I am alone in this world!

Noun

The city's traffic woes are well-known. a tale of misery and woe
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In recent years, money woes and a changing food culture have pushed the classic eateries to the wayside. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The Parisian Bistro Is Disappearing," 12 July 2018 But the Cougars' second-half shooting woes and mistakes were too much to overcome. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "Late TO, poor shooting sink UH vs. Cincinnati in AAC tournament final," 12 Mar. 2018 Yet, for a while, these woes seemed to be chances for the city to prosper—and to party as if there were no tomorrow. The Economist, "A gripping tale of Sodom sliding towards its bloody end," 12 July 2018 Critics may complain Pepsi is still peddling a lot of sugared water and potato chips—and contributing to global health woes as a result. Alan Murray, Fortune, "More Tariffs, Pfizer Prices, Facebook Fine: CEO Daily for July 11, 2018," 11 July 2018 The answer to Britain’s fuel woes came from a cast iron pot maker. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Compounding the premier’s woes, Stephen Phipson, chief executive of the EEF manufacturing lobby group, said the UK’s industrial giants are all preparing for a no-deal Brexit that causes increased bureaucracy and border delays. BostonGlobe.com, "Rolls Royce adds to Brexit alarm sounded by UK manufacturers," 5 July 2018 The German bank is one of the few banks that still lends money to Trump after his multiple bankruptcies and financial woes. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Maxine Waters could be a serious problem for Trump if Democrats win the House," 5 July 2018 The inexact nature of their job, one that sometimes affords an opportunity for redemption one day after failure, ostensibly makes flushing the woes easy. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Brad Peacock rebounds in June after a rough May," 30 June 2018

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

Interjection

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for woe

Interjection

Middle English wa, wo, from Old English ; akin to Old Norse vei, interjection, woe, Latin vae

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Phrases Related to woe

tale of woe

woe is me

woe to/betide

Statistics for woe

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Time Traveler for woe

The first known use of woe was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for woe

woe

noun

English Language Learners Definition of woe

: a feeling of great pain or sadness

woes : problems or troubles

woe

noun
\ ˈwō \

Kids Definition of woe

1 : great sorrow, grief, or misfortune : trouble

2 : something that causes a problem

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