woe·ful | \ ˈwō-fəl \
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 \ adverb
woefulness \ˈwō-fəl-nəs \ noun

Examples of woeful in a Sentence

The puppy had woeful eyes. The student's grades were woeful.

Recent Examples on the Web

Evans: Resurrected his career with a productive 2017-18 season (19.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 45.2 percent) for the woeful Memphis Grizzlies. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Which free agents are available to the Pacers," 25 June 2018 Powerful teachers’ unions protect woeful educators when they should be sacked. The Economist, "Universal lessons," 5 July 2018 The Astros produced more double plays (three) than hits (two), stifled for six innings by Danny Duffy before giving away two opportunities to take a lead against the woeful Royals bullpen. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' bats go cold in shutout loss to Royals," 22 June 2018 Should the hundreds of millions being invested in new real estate technology make a dent in our woeful lack of housing starts and construction? Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can tech outsmart the housing shortage?," 29 May 2018 The Diamondbacks’ losing skid continues to revolve around their woeful lack of offense, but for one night at least another area of the game crept up as a co-conspirator. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Baserunning missteps cost Diamondbacks in latest loss," 22 May 2018 Heck, the Diamondbacks have even let the Los Angeles Dodgers back in it after their woeful start. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Getting a lead to bullpen has been a winning script for Brewers this season," 21 May 2018 When the Orioles' woeful defense was brought up before Thursday's makeup game with the Philadelphia Phillies, Orioles manager Buck Showalter lamented the amount of players playing out of their ideal positions. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Try as they might, Orioles can't use out-of-position players as reason for league's worst defense," 12 July 2018 From the mailbag Question: Following up on the question asked Wednesday (re: the woeful catching skills of the Phils’ young catchers). Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Phillies begin season-defining stretch vs. Nats and Yanks | Extra Innings," 22 June 2018

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

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for woeful

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

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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 \

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

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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