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[traj-ik] /ˈtrædʒ ɪk/
characteristic or suggestive of tragedy:
tragic solemnity.
extremely mournful, melancholy, or pathetic:
a tragic plight.
dreadful, calamitous, disastrous, or fatal:
a tragic event.
of, pertaining to, characterized by, or of the nature of tragedy:
the tragic drama.
acting in or writing tragedy:
a tragic actor; a tragic poet.
the tragic, the element or quality of tragedy in literature, art, drama, etc.:
lives that had never known anything but the tragic.
Sometimes, tragical (for defs 1–3)
Origin of tragic
1535-45; < Latin tragicus < Greek tragikós of tragedy, equivalent to trág(os) goat + -ikos -ic
Related forms
tragically, adverb
tragicalness, noun
hypertragic, adjective
hypertragical, adjective
hypertragically, adverb
nontragic, adjective
nontragical, adjective
nontragically, adverb
nontragicalness, noun
quasi-tragic, adjective
quasi-tragically, adverb
supertragic, adjective
supertragically, adverb
untragic, adjective
untragical, adjective
untragically, adverb
untragicalness, noun
2. distressing, pitiful.
1–3. comic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tragical
Historical Examples
  • The popularity of a public servant is always in danger of a tragical end if he lives long enough.

    Drake, Nelson and Napoleon Walter Runciman
  • It is tragical to be deformed, it is tragical to have an intellect too great for people to understand.

    William Shakespeare John Masefield
  • This tragical scene was now converted into a sudden scene of joy.

  • In spite of all this choice, another victim is picked by tragical chance.

    William Shakespeare John Masefield
  • The dogs were driven off, and even as they took him to the house he told his story, and a tragical story it was.

    Harley Greenoak's Charge Bertram Mitford
  • And it was pleasant to think of him, because he was a new distraction from tragical memories.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • Kyd's style justifies Nash's description, "whole handfulls of tragical speeches" and "a blank verse bodged up with ifs and ands."

    Tragedy Ashley H. Thorndike
  • No vice is too filthy, no crime too tragical for the drunkard.

    Select Temperance Tracts American Tract Society
  • He went on making a mock and a burlesque of her tragical hallucination till she laughed with him at last.

    A Modern Instance William Dean Howells
  • And she was tragical only in the sense that she was great, for she loved to play on the side of Victory.

    A Room With A View E. M. Forster
British Dictionary definitions for tragical


of, relating to, or characteristic of tragedy
mournful or pitiable: a tragic face
Derived Forms
tragically, adverb
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 tragical



1540s, "calamitous, disastrous, fatal," shortened from tragical (late 15c.), modeled on Latin tragicus, from Greek tragikos "of or pertaining to tragedy," literally "of or pertaining to a goat," and probably referring to a satyr impersonated by a goat singer or satyric actor (see tragedy). Tragic flaw (1913) translates Greek hamartia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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