woe·​ful | \ ˈwō-fəl How to pronounce woeful (audio) \
variants: or less commonly woful

Definition of woeful

1 : full of woe : grievous woeful prophecies
2 : involving or bringing woe
3 : lamentably bad or serious : deplorable woeful ignorance

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Other Words from woeful

woefully \ ˈwō-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce woefully (audio) \ adverb
woefulness \ ˈwō-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce woefulness (audio) \ noun

Examples of woeful in a Sentence

The puppy had woeful eyes. The student's grades were woeful.
Recent Examples on the Web The other is to boost a woeful defense that finished last in efficiency two consecutive years. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Isaac Okoro ready to defend the league’s best players, help Cleveland Cavaliers make playoffs," 18 Nov. 2020 Philadelphia plays in the woeful N.F.C. East, where the 2-6 Washington Football Team is in second place. Victor Mather, New York Times, "The N.F.L. Playoff Picture, Explained," 12 Nov. 2020 The number of resources being spent on testing, tracing and trying to squeeze in Pac-12 football surely offset whatever revenues will be produced by such a woeful little season, played in front of almost completely empty stadiums. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "As coronavirus surges, Stanford and Cal remain in Pac-12 football limbo," 12 Nov. 2020 All cracks in the woeful political story of Foxconn in Wisconsin. Kathleen Gallagher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kathleen Gallagher: Foxconn complex could pay off - but in a different way than the company promised," 10 Nov. 2020 Perfect proof was provided Sunday in Big D, where the unbeaten Steelers nearly had a Big Debacle against the woeful Cowboys. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "On Football: Be prepared or be ready for an unexpected test," 9 Nov. 2020 There are now very formidable, engaging thinkers who do not share the same credentials and politics, but are no less enraged by the woeful incompetence of American elites. John Loftus, National Review, "The Movement against Elites," 2 Nov. 2020 Slay gets his first taste of the bitter rivalry Sunday night when the Eagles (2-4-1) host the Cowboys (2-5) in a battle for first place in a woeful NFC East. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Cowboys vs. Eagles live stream (11/1): How to watch NFL Week 8 online, TV, time," 1 Nov. 2020 The average number of birds seen per route this year in South Texas was 3.8, a woeful number compared to the 13.8 in 2019 and well below the 15-year mean of 9.1. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "South Texas offers best opportunity for bird hunters this season," 29 Oct. 2020

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

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First Known Use of woeful

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for woeful

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

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Statistics for woeful

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Woeful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woeful. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for woeful


How to pronounce woeful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of woeful

: full of woe : very sad
: very bad


woe·​ful | \ ˈwō-fəl How to pronounce woeful (audio) \

Kids Definition of woeful

1 : full of grief or misery a woeful heart a woeful tale
2 : bringing woe or misery a woeful day
3 : very bad Your grades are woeful.

Other Words from woeful

woefully adverb

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