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[sad] /sæd/
adjective, sadder, saddest.
affected by unhappiness or grief; sorrowful or mournful:
to feel sad because a close friend has moved away.
expressive of or characterized by sorrow:
sad looks; a sad song.
causing sorrow:
a sad disappointment; sad news.
(of color) somber, dark, or dull; drab.
deplorably bad; sorry:
a sad attempt.
Obsolete. firm or steadfast.
Origin of sad
before 1000; Middle English; Old English sæd grave, heavy, weary, orig. sated, full; cognate with German satt, Gothic saths full, satisfied; akin to Latin satis enough, satur sated, Greek hádēn enough. See satiate, saturate
Related forms
sadly, adverb
sadness, noun
1. unhappy, despondent, disconsolate, discouraged, gloomy, downcast, downhearted, depressed, dejected, melancholy.
1. happy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sadness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is a sadness in her face, for it is only a year ago they lost their little one.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • His tone softened to one of sadness, and again he glanced toward Daisy.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • My dear, I laugh; but even in the midst of laughter there is sadness.

  • He liked this eagerness on the part of his boys, and yet there was sadness in his smile, too.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • But still the sadness might not be that of love,—she had felt sad after Legard had gone.

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for sadness


seasonal affective disorder


adjective sadder, saddest
feeling sorrow; unhappy
causing, suggestive, or expressive of such feelings: a sad story
unfortunate; unsatisfactory; shabby; deplorable: her clothes were in a sad state
(Brit, informal) ludicrously contemptible; pathetic: he's a sad, boring little wimp
(of pastry, cakes, etc) not having risen fully; heavy
(of a colour) lacking brightness; dull or dark
(archaic) serious; grave
(NZ) to express sadness or displeasure strongly
Derived Forms
sadly, adverb
sadness, noun
Word Origin
Old English sæd weary; related to Old Norse sathr, Gothic saths, Latin satur, satis enough
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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Contemporary definitions for sadness's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for sadness

early 14c., "seriousness," from sad + -ness. Meaning "sorrowfulness" is c.1500, perhaps c.1400.



Old English sæd "sated, full, having had one's fill (of food, drink, fighting, etc.), weary of," from Proto-Germanic *sathaz (cf. Old Norse saðr, Middle Dutch sat, Dutch zad, Old High German sat, German satt, Gothic saþs "satiated, sated, full"), from PIE *seto- (cf. Latin satis "enough, sufficient," Greek hadros "thick, bulky," Old Church Slavonic sytu, Lithuanian sotus "satiated," Old Irish saith "satiety," sathach "sated"), from root *sa- "to satisfy" (cf. Sanskrit a-sinvan "insatiable").

Sense development passed through the meaning "heavy, ponderous" (i.e. "full" mentally or physically), and "weary, tired of" before emerging c.1300 as "unhappy." An alternative course would be through the common Middle English sense of "steadfast, firmly established, fixed" (e.g. sad-ware "tough pewter vessels") and "serious" to "grave." In the main modern sense, it replaced Old English unrot, negative of rot "cheerful, glad."

Meaning "very bad" is from 1690s. Slang sense of "inferior, pathetic" is from 1899; sad sack is 1920s, popularized by World War II armed forces (specifically by cartoon character invented by Sgt. George Baker, 1942, and published in U.S. Armed Forces magazine "Yank"), probably a euphemistic shortening of common military slang phrase sad sack of shit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sadness in Medicine

SAD abbr.
seasonal affective disorder

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for sadness



Inferior; botched or bungled; crummy: It's a sad dump/ What a sad-ass town (first form 1899+, second 1971+ third 1974+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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