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[traj-i-kom-i-dee] /ˌtrædʒ ɪˈkɒm ɪ di/
noun, plural tragicomedies.
a dramatic or other literary composition combining elements of both tragedy and comedy.
an incident, or series of incidents, of mixed tragic and comic character.
Origin of tragicomedy
1570-80; < Late Latin tragicōmoedia, syncopated variant of Latin tragicocōmoedia. See tragic, -o-, comedy
Related forms
[traj-i-kom-ik] /ˌtrædʒ ɪˈkɒm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
tragicomical, adjective
tragicomically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tragicomedy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All the participants in this tragicomedy are now going through the motions.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • The Humorous Lieutenant is of that kind,—it is called a tragicomedy by some.

    Francis Beaumont: Dramatist

    Charles Mills Gayley
  • In tragedy it plays a fitful part, but in tragicomedy it conquers the theatres.

    Tragedy Ashley H. Thorndike
  • Women survive the tragicomedy only by dint of their great capacity for play-acting.

    In Defense of Women H. L. Mencken
  • How far Byron was in earnest in this tragicomedy is more difficult to determine.

    Woman's Work in English Fiction Clara Helen Whitmore
  • Canada in the West has all races, and it was consistent of me to give a Chinaman of noble birth a part to play in the tragicomedy.

  • Hortensia leant forward, an eager spectator, watching the three actors in this tragicomedy.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • The distinctions between tragedy, comedy, tragicomedy, and romantic comedy often become barely discernible.

    Tragedy Ashley H. Thorndike
  • For a time it is mainly confined to romantic comedy, but it soon enters into tragedy and tragicomedy.

    Tragedy Ashley H. Thorndike
British Dictionary definitions for tragicomedy


noun (pl) -dies
  1. a drama in which aspects of both tragedy and comedy are found
  2. the dramatic genre of works of this kind
an event or incident having both comic and tragic aspects
Derived Forms
tragicomic, tragicomical, adjective
tragicomically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from French, ultimately from Late Latin tragicōmoedia; see tragedy, comedy
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 tragicomedy

1570s, from Middle French tragicomédie (1540s), from Italian tragicommedia, from Late Latin tragicomoedia (c.325), contraction of tragicocomoedia (Plautus), from tragicus (see tragic) + comoedia (see comedy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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