[ miz-er-uh-buhl, miz-ruh- ]
/ ˈmɪz ər ə bəl, ˈmɪz rə- /


wretchedly unhappy, uneasy, or uncomfortable: miserable victims of war.
wretchedly poor; needy.
of wretched character or quality; contemptible: a miserable villain.
attended with or causing misery: a miserable existence.
manifesting misery.
worthy of pity; deplorable: a miserable failure.

Nearby words

  1. misenus,
  2. miser,
  3. miser, the,
  4. miserabilism,
  5. miserabilist,
  6. miserably,
  7. miserere,
  8. misericord,
  9. misericords,
  10. miserly

Origin of miserable

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin miserābilis, equivalent to miserā(rī) to pity (derivative of miser wretched) + -bilis -ble

SYNONYMS FOR miserable
1. forlorn, disconsolate, doleful, distressed. See wretched. 2. destitute. 3. despicable, mean, low, abject. 6. pitiable, lamentable.

Related formsmis·er·a·ble·ness, nounmis·er·a·bly, adverbqua·si-mis·er·a·ble, adjectivequa·si-mis·er·a·bly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for miserable

British Dictionary definitions for miserable


/ (ˈmɪzərəbəl, ˈmɪzrə-) /


unhappy or depressed; wretched
causing misery, discomfort, etca miserable life
contemptiblea miserable villain
sordid or squalidmiserable living conditions
Scot, Australian and NZ mean; stingy
(pejorative intensifier)you miserable wretch
Derived Formsmiserableness, nounmiserably, adverb

Word Origin for miserable

C16: from Old French, from Latin miserābilis worthy of pity, from miserārī to pity, from miser wretched

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 miserable



early 15c., "full of misery, causing wretchedness" (of conditions), from Old French miserable "prone to pity, merciful," and directly from Latin miserabilis "pitiable, miserable, deplorable, lamentable," from miserari "to pity, lament, deplore," from miser "wretched" (see miser). Of persons, "existing in a state of misery" it is attested from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper