a lamentable, dreadful, or fatal event or affair; calamity; disaster: stunned by the tragedy of so many deaths.
a dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically involving a great person destined to experience downfall or utter destruction, as through a character flaw or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or an unyielding society.
the branch of the drama that is concerned with this form of composition.
the art and theory of writing and producing tragedies.
any literary composition, as a novel, dealing with a somber theme carried to a tragic or disastrous conclusion.
the tragic or mournful or calamitous element of drama, of literature generally, or of life.
- non·trag·e·dy, noun, plural non·trag·e·dies.
- pro·trag·e·dy, adjective
- su·per·trag·e·dy, noun, plural su·per·trag·e·dies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use tragedy in a sentence
He spoke of the present-day tragedies and turmoil that struck the city while he and his classmates were in the academy.
So there are a few things we can do to try to prevent these tragedies.
Fifty years ago, we were just beginning to learn some important lessons from natural disasters, epidemics, and manmade tragedies.Heed the Warnings: Why We’re on the Brink of Mass Extinction | Sean B. Carroll | November 30, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
While migrant ship tragedies at sea happen all too often, the latest sinking appears to have been no accident.Hundreds of Migrants are Reported Drowned by Traffickers Near Malta | Barbie Latza Nadeau | September 15, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Together, they reveal their histories, teaching and learning from the shared tragedies of the past.A Camp Away From Terror: Where Israeli and Palestinian Kids Find Common Ground | Nina Strochlic | August 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The tragedies of Corneille and Racine are forcible and finished, and should be read because classical.The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness | Florence Hartley
Our mind is kept more occupied by Corneilles tragedies, but by Racines we are more softened and moved.The 'Characters' of Jean de La Bruyre | Jean de La Bruyre
Other plays including tragedies and comedies, famous and not so famous, were acted at the Williamsburg Playhouse.Hallowed Heritage: The Life of Virginia | Dorothy M. Torpey
What scenes, what tragedies, what comedies, those bright houses and demure little villas concealed.The Daughters of Danaus | Mona Caird
He lived to be ninety years old, and produced the most beautiful of his tragedies in his eightieth year, the "Oedipus at Colonus."Beacon Lights of History, Volume I | John Lord
British Dictionary definitions for tragedy
(esp in classical and Renaissance drama) a play in which the protagonist, usually a man of importance and outstanding personal qualities, falls to disaster through the combination of a personal failing and circumstances with which he cannot deal
(in later drama, such as that of Ibsen) a play in which the protagonist is overcome by a combination of social and psychological circumstances
any dramatic or literary composition dealing with serious or sombre themes and ending with disaster
(in medieval literature) a literary work in which a great person falls from prosperity to disaster, often through no fault of his own
the branch of drama dealing with such themes
the unfortunate aspect of something
a shocking or sad event; disaster
- Compare comedy
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
Cultural definitions for tragedy
A serious drama in which a central character, the protagonist — usually an important, heroic person — meets with disaster either through some personal fault or through unavoidable circumstances. In most cases, the protagonist's downfall conveys a sense of human dignity in the face of great conflict. Tragedy originated in ancient Greece in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. In modern times, it achieved excellence with William Shakespeare in such works as Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello. Twentieth-century tragedies include Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, and Murder in the Cathedral, by T. S. Eliot.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.