[sor-uh-fuhl, sawr-]


full of or feeling sorrow; grieved; sad.
showing or expressing sorrow; mournful; plaintive: a sorrowful song.
involving or causing sorrow; distressing: a sorrowful event.

Origin of sorrowful

before 900; Middle English sorowful, Old English sorgful. See sorrow, -ful
Related formssor·row·ful·ly, adverbsor·row·ful·ness, nouno·ver·sor·row·ful, adjectiveo·ver·sor·row·ful·ly, adverbo·ver·sor·row·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms for sorrowful

1. unhappy, grieving. 2. melancholy. 3. piteous, heartbreaking. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sorrowful

Contemporary Examples of sorrowful

  • It is also one of the few places in Georgia where the sorrowful beauty of the call to prayer still can be heard.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Secret Life of an ISIS Warlord

    Will Cathcart, Vazha Tavberidze, Nino Burchuladze

    October 27, 2014

  • He was consumed by a sorrowful bitterness and cynicism that could only be responded to with large purses.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bloody Brilliant

    Stanley Crouch

    April 24, 2009

Historical Examples of sorrowful

  • The meeting between the two friends was as joyful as their parting had been sorrowful.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • But, while he was in this sorrowful mood, he heard a voice close beside him.

    The Gorgon's Head

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Never never had he forgotten his father's sorrowful and upbraiding look.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • His listening attitude had a sort of angular and sorrowful grace.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • And Caleb plodded up the stairs after her with his head down, amazed and sorrowful.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

Word Origin and History for sorrowful

Old English sorgful "sad, anxious, careful; distressing, doleful;" see sorrow (n.) + -ful. Related: Sorrowfully; sorowfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper