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 Its solemnity brings back that woeful moment when Rolling Stone’s inexcusable August 1, 2013, cover glamorized Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a precursor to the British press’s absolving of Salman Abedi. Armond White, National Review, 20 July 2022 Apart from a woeful shortage of booze unimaginable at Stagecoach, though, Palomino — which drew maybe 15,000 fans — made the most of its shaggy low-key vibe. Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2022 Doing so would improve upon its woeful underperformance in meeting its refugee commitments. Krish O'mara Vignarajah, CNN, 4 July 2022 Marcel recounts this woeful tale to Camp (playing himself), who is renting the house after a relationship meltdown. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 Puth thrives in this type of snappy post-heartbreak pop songwriting, but Jung Kook sounds just as comfortable, providing a warmth to his woeful rhetorical questions and keeping up with Puth’s melodic bounce in time with the drum thwacks. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, 24 June 2022 The country’s vaccine success stood in sharp contrast to the woeful state of its public health system, which had long been touted as a major achievement of the 1959 Revolution. Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 18 June 2022 Falling behind 4-0 on Kepler's blast was detrimental, simply because of the Tigers' woeful offense so far this season. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 24 May 2022 And then his two days here were a tail of two woeful nines. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, 21 May 2022 See More

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.

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

26 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Woeful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woeful. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for woeful


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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