woe·​be·​gone | \ ˈwō-bi-ˌgȯn How to pronounce woebegone (audio) also -ˌgän \

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

Other Words from woebegone

woebegoneness noun

Breaking Down Woebegone

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."

Examples of woebegone in a Sentence

His face had a woebegone expression. the most woebegone people that I had ever seen in my life
Recent Examples on the Web The Minnesota Vikings earned their second victory of the season when placekicker Greg Joseph banged home a 54-yard field goal on the final play of the game Sunday to give Mike Zimmer’s crew a 19-17 victory over the woebegone Detroit Lions. Steve Silverman, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 The girl’s father, a woebegone tea merchant named Jake (Colin Farrell), sets off on a repair-shop odyssey to try to bring the bot back to life, while his relationship with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) threatens to come apart. Kyle Smith, National Review, 10 Mar. 2022 The Aggies’ current win streak includes at home game against woebegone Georgia on Feb. 22, at Mississippi last Saturday and Wednesday at Alabama. Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News, 2 Mar. 2022 More than the once-formidable-now-woebegone New York Giants, which the 49ers also faced eight times in playoffs. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Jan. 2022 However, Samuel has 115 yards on 13 carries and has scored two touchdowns to help his recently woebegone team outscore their opponents, 61-20, in the past two games. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Nov. 2021 Heck, even the woebegone Falcons — who haven't had a winning NFL season since 2017 — are at .500 and hopeful of joining the party. Paul Newberry, ajc, 28 Oct. 2021 Emmett and the stowaways—a fast-talking rogue known as Duchess and his woebegone companion, Woolly—are all 18, the age at which, Towles notes, having received advice from all quarters, a young person begins making decisions about his own life. Time, 29 Sep. 2021 The Biden Administration’s decision to allow Europeans once again to fly to the United States – beginning sometime in November – was cheered by leaders throughout the woebegone U.S. travel and tourism industry on Monday. Dan Reed, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of woebegone

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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 entry 1

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The first known use of woebegone was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Woebegone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woebegone. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of woebegone for Spanish Speakers


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