woebegone

play
adjective woe·be·gone \ˈwō-bi-ˌgȯn also -ˌgän\

Definition of woebegone

  1. 1 :  strongly affected with woe :  woeful

  2. 2a :  exhibiting great woe, sorrow, or misery a woebegone expressionb :  being in a sorry state woebegone tattered clothes

woebegoneness

noun

woebegone was our Word of the Day on 09/30/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of woebegone in a Sentence

  1. His face had a woebegone expression.

  2. the most woebegone people that I had ever seen in my life

Recent Examples of woebegone from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'woebegone'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

At first glance, woebegone looks like a word that has its meaning backwards; after all, if begone means "to go away," shouldn't woebegone mean "devoid of woe," or "happy"? Not exactly. The word derives from the Middle English phrase wo begon. The wo in this phrase simply means "woe," but begon (deriving from Old English began) is a past participle meaning "beset." Someone who is woebegone, therefore, is beset with woe. Since the early 19th century, the word has also been used to describe things that appear to express sadness, as in "a woebegone face."

Origin and Etymology of woebegone

Middle English wo begon, from wo, noun + begon, past participle of begon to go about, beset, from Old English begān, from be- + gān to go — more at go


First Known Use: 14th century


WOEBEGONE Defined for English Language Learners

woebegone

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adjective

Definition of woebegone for English Language Learners

  • : looking or feeling very sad



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