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[dohl-fuh l] /ˈdoʊl fəl/
sorrowful; mournful; melancholy:
a doleful look on her face.
Origin of doleful
First recorded in 1225-75, doleful is from the Middle English word dol-ful. See dole2, -ful
Related forms
dolefully, adverb
dolefulness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dolefully
Historical Examples
  • Jed still sat there gazing at vacancy and droning, dolefully.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "Won't be no good, cap'n," sniffed Beriah Salters dolefully.

    Keziah Coffin Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "I sort of reckon I must have been," admitted Jimmy, dolefully.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • "I'm afraid I'm done up so far as walking is concerned," he said dolefully.

  • Even the crows cawing above the woods did not sound so dolefully.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • "I dare say Maxwell will be able to hold his own," said Hilary, but not so much proudly as dolefully.

    The Story of a Play W. D. Howells
  • "Not while they have possession of the boys," Canfield declared, dolefully.

  • They would have constituted a "terrace" if they could, but they had dolefully given it up.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James
  • "Poor Dimitri," she said, dolefully, after her husband had recounted the events of the day.

    Rabbi and Priest

    Milton Goldsmith
  • dolefully he looked at the vacant finger where once a diamond had sparkled.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for dolefully


dreary; mournful Archaic word dolesome (ˈdəʊlsəm)
Derived Forms
dolefully, adverb
dolefulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dolefully



late 13c., with -ful, from Middle English dole "grief" (early 13c.), from Old French doel (Modern French deuil), from Late Latin dolus "grief," from Latin dolere "suffer, grieve." Related: Dolefully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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