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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for saddening
Historical Examples
  • It is a sad mistake that religion is depressing and saddening to youth.

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

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet
  • She could think of but one answer to it; this saddening enough.

    The Free Lances Mayne Reid
  • All around had assumed a saddening aspect in the vacillating moonbeams.

    The Red Track Gustave Aimard
  • “The riddle of the world” had its saddening aspects for him, as it has for all earnest souls.

    Sermons Clement Bailhache
  • It must be saddening to a great man to reflect that the schoolboys have no respect for him.

    South London Sir Walter Besant
  • A saddening thought, but true, as many a good woman has found to her cost.

  • The effect of the whole is exceedingly beautiful, chaste, and saddening.

    Lancashire Sketches

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

    Company G

    A. R. (Albert Rowe) Barlow
  • He sighed, as if the reminiscence of past times was pleasing but saddening.

    The Chaplain of the Fleet

    Walter Besant and James Rice
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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