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 When Bickerstaff took over, his focus was on continued player development, instilling a culture of toughness, togetherness and accountability, and fixing a woeful defense. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "J.B. Bickerstaff is bright spot of Cleveland Cavaliers’ rebuild -- and he came at the perfect time: Chris Fedor," 16 June 2020 Clients should also make crystal clear that the woeful representation of diverse attorneys in the partnership ranks—if that’s the case—is unacceptable. Fortune, "Effective strategies for finding—and retaining—talented nonwhite and female lawyers: A black partner’s perspective," 12 June 2020 Take genetics, with its long, lurid history of eugenics, modern medical colonialization, and woeful dearth of DNA from non-White people. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Across the Globe, Scientists Are Striking for Black Lives," 10 June 2020 The deck is stacked against the conference for a number of reasons, most significantly that its programs lag behind on revenue generated from its now-woeful media rights deal. oregonlive, "Canzano: Football season playing right into the hands of Oregon Ducks coach Mario Cristobal," 6 June 2020 The woeful by-product of the common folklore holding that our Founders disliked top-down executive rule, Barr argued, is that their descendants are still distrustful of it today. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Bill Barr’s Invisible Crusade," 8 June 2020 The woeful turnout at European elections—51% in 2019—suggests otherwise. The Economist, "Charlemagne The wizards of Luxembourg," 21 May 2020 Costs are further pushed up by woeful infrastructure that delays produce reaching the market. Anthony Osae-brown, Bloomberg.com, "Thwarting Smugglers Leave Nigerians Counting Costs of Stony Rice," 7 May 2020 These equal and opposite platitudes share more than a formulation and a woeful inadequacy. Wells King, National Review, "Recovering the American Tradition of Economic Policy," 5 May 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

19 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Woeful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woeful. Accessed 9 Jul. 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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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

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