[dohl-fuh l]
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Origin of doleful

First recorded in 1225–75, doleful is from the Middle English word dol-ful. See dole2, -ful
Related formsdole·ful·ly, adverbdole·ful·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for doleful


  1. dreary; mournfulArchaic word: dolesome (ˈdəʊlsəm)
Derived Formsdolefully, adverbdolefulness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for doleful

late 13c., with -ful, from Middle English dole "grief" (early 13c.), from Old French doel (Modern French deuil), from Late Latin dolus "grief," from Latin dolere "suffer, grieve." Related: Dolefully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper