verb (used with or without object)

to make or become sad.

Origin of sadden

First recorded in 1590–1600; sad + -en1
Related formssad·den·ing·ly, adverbun·sad·dened, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for saddening

Historical Examples of saddening

  • It is a sad mistake that religion is depressing and saddening to youth.

  • It is much used as a "saddening" agent; that is, for darkening other colours.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet

  • She could think of but one answer to it; this saddening enough.

    The Free Lances

    Mayne Reid

  • All around had assumed a saddening aspect in the vacillating moonbeams.

    The Red Track

    Gustave Aimard

  • “The riddle of the world” had its saddening aspects for him, as it has for all earnest souls.


    Clement Bailhache

British Dictionary definitions for saddening



to make or become sad
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 saddening



"to make sorrowful," 1620s, from sad + -en (1). Earlier verb was simply sade, from Old English sadian, which also could be the immediate source of the modern verb. Intransitive meaning "to become sad" is from 1718. Related: Saddened; saddening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper