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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Narváez began the 2020 season as the No. 1 catcher but played his way into more bench time with a woeful offensive showing (.562 OPS). Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers reach agreement on contract with free agent Luke Maile, giving them six catchers," 5 Apr. 2021 The woeful first 20 minutes brought to mind two of the worst high-profile first halves in recent NCAA Tournament history. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "Ugly Sweet 16 game a beautiful win for Oregon State over Loyola Chicago in men's NCAA Tournament," 27 Mar. 2021 After his woeful-shooting first half Friday, Porzingis did, in fact, get to work in the third quarter. Dallas News, "How Kristaps Porzingis’ struggles with smaller, pesky defenders mirror those of Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki," 21 Mar. 2021 Nonetheless, Feeney received a woeful 48.2 grade from PFF. J.p. Pelzman, Forbes, "Evaluating What The New York Jets Have Done In Free Agency And What Potential Moves Are Left," 19 Mar. 2021 Boston lost for the third time in four games, with the Celtics' lone win coming against the woeful Houston Rockets. Tom Withers, Star Tribune, "Sexton, Garland shine as Cavaliers end slide, beat Celtics," 17 Mar. 2021 Turning the ball over 16 times against a team that ranked 246th in adjusted defensive efficiency is woeful. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Why was Ohio State basketball upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament?," 19 Mar. 2021 Despite a late push to win the woeful NFC East in 2020, the Giants are probably better served – given their current draft and cap resources – to stick with Jones for another year and try to build up the roster around him before considering a reboot. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Record-setting quarterback turnover a strong possibility for 2021 NFL season," 18 Feb. 2021 Rutgers went 3-6 in Greg Schiano's debut, an unqualified success given the program's woeful recent history. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Big Ten spring football preview: Ohio State is in the driver's seat; Indiana needs healthy QB," 22 Feb. 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.

See More

First Known Use of woeful

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about woeful

Time Traveler for woeful

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for woeful

Last Updated

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Woeful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woeful. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on woeful

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!