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[sad-n] /ˈsæd n/
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become sad.
Origin of sadden
First recorded in 1590-1600; sad + -en1
Related forms
saddeningly, adverb
unsaddened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for saddening
Historical Examples
  • All within this house, until Harley's arrival, had been strange and saddening to Helen's timid and subdued spirits.

    My Novel, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • She could think of but one answer to it; this saddening enough.

    The Free Lances Mayne Reid
  • I found the sight not only interesting, but as cheering as those poor old things in the King's Road oasis had been saddening.

    A Boswell of Baghdad E. V. Lucas
  • It is a sad mistake that religion is depressing and saddening to youth.

  • My disposition is so faultily anxious and foreboding that I am not likely to forget anything of a saddening sort.

  • It is much used as a "saddening" agent; that is, for darkening other colours.

    Vegetable Dyes Ethel M. Mairet
  • It was the face of one who had suffered deeply, who had passed through more than one saddening experience.

    The Making of a Soul Kathlyn Rhodes
  • It must be saddening to a great man to reflect that the schoolboys have no respect for him.

    South London Sir Walter Besant
  • Their vacant places in the ranks will be saddening and for a time crippling.

  • Its associations to many were pleasant, to others, saddening.

    Company G A. R. (Albert Rowe) Barlow
British Dictionary definitions for saddening


to make or become sad
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 saddening



"to make sorrowful," 1620s, from sad + -en (1). Earlier verb was simply sade, from Old English sadian, which also could be the immediate source of the modern verb. Intransitive meaning "to become sad" is from 1718. Related: Saddened; saddening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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