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

Other Words from woeful

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

Examples of woeful in a Sentence

The puppy had woeful eyes. The student's grades were woeful.
Recent Examples on the Web For the second time in nine days, Oregon was run out of the gym amid a woeful performance. oregonlive, 24 Nov. 2021 Aside from a six-sack performance against Miami’s woeful offensive line and three sacks against Houston, Buffalo doesn’t have another game with more than two sacks. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Nov. 2021 The ’Yotes are a woeful 2-13-2, though that’s after losing their first 11 games. Tyler J. Davis, Detroit Free Press, 20 Nov. 2021 The 3-0 win over Malmo in September ended a run of 19 matches without a clean sheet and, after woeful errors against Udinese and Napoli, much of the blame lies with the Poland international. Adam Digby, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 Such prioritization appears common nationwide, as does a woeful lack of awareness about antibodies’ potential use as prevention among health care providers. NBC News, 7 Nov. 2021 The woeful Texans have scored just eight points in their last three road games — two field goals and a safety. Keven Lerner, sun-sentinel.com, 4 Nov. 2021 This hard-luck journeyman, who played for Love Smith’s woeful 2014 team, faced Tampa Bay three years later with the Jets. Joey Knight, orlandosentinel.com, 26 Oct. 2021 From a competitive standpoint, RSL’s performance was woeful. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Nov. 2021

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

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Woeful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woeful. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for woeful



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

More from Merriam-Webster on woeful

Nglish: Translation of woeful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of woeful for Arabic Speakers


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