[dohl-fuh l]


sorrowful; mournful; melancholy: a doleful look on her face.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for dolefully

Historical Examples of dolefully

  • Jed still sat there gazing at vacancy and droning, dolefully.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "Won't be no good, cap'n," sniffed Beriah Salters dolefully.

    Keziah Coffin

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "I sort of reckon I must have been," admitted Jimmy, dolefully.

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • "I'm afraid I'm done up so far as walking is concerned," he said dolefully.

  • Even the crows cawing above the woods did not sound so dolefully.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for dolefully



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 dolefully



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