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[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for misery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As for Cucurullo, he had been inured to hardship and misery in his childhood.

    Stradella F(rancis) Marion Crawford
  • Neither of them knows anything of that misery yet, I am confident.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • Mrs. Latimer's sobs only roused his wrath at all the misery she had wrought.

    A Man of Two Countries Alice Harriman
  • I am persuaded that half the misery in the world comes of straining after happiness.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • The face was full of horror and misery, and the eyes flashing with excitement and despair.

    Tara Philip Meadows Taylor
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
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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
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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.
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