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used to express unhappiness, pity, or concern
Life, alas, is too short.


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Examples of alas in a Sentence

Interjection Juliet's pitiful lament, “alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead!”.
Recent Examples on the Web
But alas, nothing even tangentially associated with Buffalo Trace comes easy these days. Brad Japhe, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 McConnell’s willingness to complain publicly about Trump now, alas, is the tell—not a sign of an incipient battle for the soul of the Party but of a fight that has already been lost. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2024 Cats, for example, can sleep as much as 16 hours a day (although not always at the same time their humans sleep, alas). Discover Magazine, 13 Jan. 2024 But alas for ‘N Sync fans, no photos of Justin Timberlake. Lisa Gutierrez, Kansas City Star, 25 Jan. 2024 But, alas, my body has repeatedly rejected the alien parasite, for reasons unknown. Leila Cobo, Billboard, 25 Jan. 2024 Office buildings are not, alas, the great quarry of future living space the city needs, the untapped resource that could simultaneously solve the housing crisis and restore the midtown tax base. Curbed, 24 Jan. 2024 Neal Rubin covered the best bowlers in the world during his sportswriter days, but alas, nothing rubbed off. Neal Rubin, Detroit Free Press, 11 Jan. 2024 Brazil, alas, did not: A heavy favorite, it was stunned by host France in the final. Andrew Das, New York Times, 7 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alas.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French, from a ah + las weary, from Latin lassus — more at lassitude

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of alas was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near alas

Cite this Entry

“Alas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


used to express unhappiness, pity, or concern

More from Merriam-Webster on alas

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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