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

Despite the win, Vestergaard's woeful display has to be concerning for Hassenhuttl. SI.com, "Sheffield United 0-1 Southampton: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Djenepo Comes Up Trumps," 14 Sep. 2019 Boiled down, the takeaways from even this limited sample size fit into two categories: pleasant surprises or terrible, woeful, the-sky-is-falling disappointments. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Early surprises - both good and bad - after two full weeks of the college football season," 10 Sep. 2019 That is only a little bit true, a convenient excuse too many fans and media bought into to explain away a woeful 5-11 record. Gene Frenette, orlandosentinel.com, "Jacksonville’s offensive line facing big expectations," 24 Aug. 2019 What if the Bears again have a Super Bowl-caliber defense that gets torpedoed by a woeful offense? Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Bears opener revives fears that a Super Bowl-worthy defense could be wasted by offensive stumbles," 6 Sep. 2019 After back-to-back woeful seasons under Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels will quickly be added into the mix as ACC Coastal contenders. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "College football's Week 1 winners and losers, starting with Willie Taggart and Florida State," 31 Aug. 2019 Those guys are coached to execute,’’ Kitchens said after the woeful first-half performance. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Freddie Kitchens frustrated by bad offense vs. Bucs: ‘Not even close to where we want to go’," 24 Aug. 2019 There are few things more dangerous than false climate science, critics correctly argue, before hopefully realizing there's little more dangerous in this emergency than a woeful and petty distraction. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "The Amazon is burning. The climate is changing. And we're doing nothing to stop it," 4 Sep. 2019 They are expected to be decent on offense and borderline woeful on defense. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "ASU vs. Sacramento State picks, predictions: Will Arizona State roll on Friday night?," 4 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for woeful

Last Updated

20 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for woeful

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on woeful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for woeful

Spanish Central: Translation of woeful

Nglish: Translation of woeful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of woeful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on woeful

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to be made up of

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