trag·​ic | \ ˈtra-jik How to pronounce tragic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly tragical \ ˈtra-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce tragic (audio) \

Definition of tragic

1a : regrettably serious or unpleasant : deplorable, lamentable a tragic mistake
b : marked by a sense of tragedy
2 : of, marked by, or expressive of tragedy the tragic significance of the atomic bomb— H. S. Truman
3a : dealing with or treated in tragedy the tragic hero
b : appropriate to or typical of tragedy

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Other Words from tragic

tragically \ ˈtra-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce tragic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of tragic in a Sentence

Their deaths were tragic and untimely. They both died in a tragic car accident. Romeo and Juliet's tragic love affair. We saw a tragic play about a man with AIDS. the tragic characters of her novel
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Recent Examples on the Web These tragic and unnecessary outcomes will continue until the United States makes the investments needed to address non-medical factors that lead to poorer health. Robert Pearl, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Nevertheless, his dream literary dinner consists of his mother, his father (who died when Cooper was 10) and his brother, who met a tragic and untimely death. New York Times, 8 Oct. 2021 The series is said to be an exploration of the wild, tragic and controversial life and career of Tyson, one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture. Joe Otterson, Variety, 27 Sep. 2021 The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is behind us now, but its stories, both tragic and inspiring, are timeless. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Sep. 2021 Her parents, family and all the community [are] devastated by this tragic and sudden loss. Maria Pasquini,, 15 Sep. 2021 His cases are some of the most tragic and notorious in local history. Dan Sullivan,, 4 Sep. 2021 This was a tragic and senseless loss and certainly underlined the precarious security situation at the airport. Angus King, Time, 1 Sep. 2021 But given the multiple shocks of the past few years, the utopian impulse that once felt so tragic and nostalgic suddenly looks curiously viable — even translated into the alien world of 12th-century monasticism. Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tragic.' 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 tragic

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tragic

Middle English, from Latin tragicus, from Greek tragikos, irregular from tragōidia tragedy

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Time Traveler for tragic

Time Traveler

The first known use of tragic was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near tragic



tragic flaw

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Statistics for tragic

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tragic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for tragic



English Language Learners Definition of tragic

: causing strong feelings of sadness usually because someone has died in a way that seems very shocking, unfair, etc.
: involving very sad or serious topics : of or relating to tragedy


trag·​ic | \ ˈtra-jik How to pronounce tragic (audio) \

Kids Definition of tragic

1 : very unfortunate a tragic mistake
2 : of or relating to tragedy a tragic drama

More from Merriam-Webster on tragic

Nglish: Translation of tragic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tragic for Arabic Speakers


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