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

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

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

Definition of woebegone for English Language Learners

  • : looking or feeling very sad



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

clearly seen through or understood

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • manet-jeanne-spring
  • Which is a synonym of chaffer?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ