- grievous distress, affliction, or trouble: His woe was almost beyond description.
- an affliction: She suffered a fall, among her other woes.
- an exclamation of grief, distress, or lamentation.
Origin of woe
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for woes
But amid their tumbling words describing their woes, they express disbelief much will come from the talks.Why Geneva 2 Won’t Stop Syria’s War
January 22, 2014
Not only had a big man stumbled, but the country he so daringly represented also seemed diminished by his woes.The Rise And Fall Of Brazilian Billionaire Eike Batista
November 9, 2013
To add to his woes, the president is repeatedly stiff-armed, both at home and abroad.The Sprawling, Dimming Age of Obama
June 30, 2013
Genetically modified crops have been touted as a solution to many of the woes afflicting agriculture.Farmers Turn to Pesticide as Insects Resist Genetically Modified Crops
May 22, 2013
The third of the "woes" suddenly plaguing the administration isn't a scandal in any credible sense of the word.The Obama Scandals Are Desperate Measures by the GOP
May 17, 2013
Oh, foolish woman, if you do, you only exchange your woes for worse ones.A Woman Tenderfoot
Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
She may be surrounded with variety of woes, but none of them shall approach her.Imogen
He leads her straight into the woes: will she follow, will she hold back?The Prodigal Returns
We were not then prepared for peace, that sovereign balm for a nation's woes.Three Years in the Federal Cavalry
I can not hear the recital of their woes without the deepest sympathy.Henry IV, Makers of History
John S. C. Abbott
- literary intense grief or misery
- (often plural) affliction or misfortune
- woe betide someone misfortune will befall someonewoe betide you if you arrive late
- Also: woe is me archaic an exclamation of sorrow or distress
Word Origin and History for woes
Old English wa, a common exclamation of lament in many languages (cf. Latin væ, Greek oa, German weh, Lettish wai, Old Irish fe, Welsh gwae, Armenian vay). The noun is attested from late 12c., from the interjection.