Definition of woebegone
1 : strongly affected with woe : woeful
2a : exhibiting great woe, sorrow, or misery <a woebegone expression>b : being in a sorry state <woebegone tattered clothes>
Examples of woebegone in a sentence
His face had a woebegone expression.
<the most woebegone people that I had ever seen in my life>
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
Definition of woebegone for English Language Learners
: looking or feeling very sad
Seen and Heard
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