Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[miz-uh-ree] /ˈmɪz ə ri/
noun, plural miseries.
wretchedness of condition or circumstances.
distress or suffering caused by need, privation, or poverty.
great mental or emotional distress; extreme unhappiness.
a cause or source of distress.
Older Use.
  1. a pain:
    a misery in my left side.
  2. rheumatism.
  3. Often, miseries. a case or period of despondency or gloom.
Origin of misery
1325-75; Middle English miserie < Latin miseria, equivalent to miser wretched + -ia -y3
1. tribulation, trial, suffering. 3. grief, anguish, woe, torment, desolation. See sorrow.
3. happiness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for misery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And let it be considered, what misery to me, Madam, if I marry that hated Solmes!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • And what I overheard in the armoury--about a telegram--telling me--putting me out of my misery?

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • But she had not so much share in her own cheerfulness as her poor aunts had in their misery.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • In the selfishness of his misery he looked upon this as lack of sympathy with himself.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Now, she was sunken in an apathy that saved her from the worst pangs of misery.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for misery


noun (pl) -eries
intense unhappiness, discomfort, or suffering; wretchedness
a cause of such unhappiness, discomfort, etc
squalid or poverty-stricken conditions
(Brit, informal) a person who is habitually depressed: he is such a misery
(dialect) a pain or ailment
Word Origin
C14: via Anglo-Norman from Latin miseria, from miser wretched
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for misery

late 14c., "condition of external unhappiness," from Old French misere "miserable situation, misfortune, distress" (12c.), from Latin miseria "wretchedness," from miser (see miser). Meaning "condition of one in great sorrow or mental distress" is from 1530s. Meaning "bodily pain" is 1825, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with misery


In addition to the idiom beginning with misery also see: put someone out of his or her misery
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for misery

Word Value for misery

Scrabble Words With Friends