1

woe

interjection \ ˈwō \

Definition of woe

used to express grief, regret, or distress

Examples of woe in a Sentence

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

Origin and Etymology of woe

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

woe Synonyms

Synonyms
alack, ay, wirra [Irish], alas
Related Words
ouch, ow; aw, phooey, rats, sheesh, shucks; bah, boo, faugh, fie, ho hum, humph, pish, pooh, pshaw, tsk, tush, tut, yuck (also yuk)
Near Antonyms
alleluia, glory, hallelujah; ha, hey, hooray (also hurrah or hurray), hot dog, wahoo [chiefly West], whee, whoopee, wow, yahoo, yippee

2

woe

noun

Definition of woe

1 :a condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief
2 :ruinous trouble :calamity, affliction
  • economic woes

Examples of woe in a Sentence

  1. The city's traffic woes are well-known.

  2. a tale of misery and woe

Recent Examples of woe from the Web

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.

First Known Use of woe

before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of woe

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


WOE Defined for English Language Learners

woe

noun

Definition of woe for English Language Learners

  • : a feeling of great pain or sadness

  • woes : problems or troubles


WOE Defined for Kids

woe

noun \ ˈwō \

Definition of woe for Students

1 :great sorrow, grief, or misfortune :trouble
2 :something that causes a problem


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

pleasing or sweet sound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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