- 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.
Origin of tragedy
Related Wordsmisfortune, catastrophe, humiliation, wreck, shock, mishap, failure, calamity, struggle, woe, adversity, hardship, blow, downer, curse, reverse, misadventure, contretemps, dole, mischance
Examples from the Web for tragedy
When twelve people are killed by violence, whoever they are, for whatever reason, that is a tragedy and a waste.Trolls and Martyrdom: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie
January 9, 2015
Does the sending of the message “justify” the tragedy that caused it?Cover-Ups and Concern Trolls: Actually, It's About Ethics in Suicide Journalism
January 3, 2015
The fate of AirAsia Flight 8501 and the 162 souls on board is a tragedy, but it will not remain a mystery for much longer.Who Will Get AsiaAir 8501’s Black Boxes?
December 30, 2014
A senior law enforcement official suggested one early lesson from the tragedy.Two Cops ‘Assassinated’ in Brooklyn
December 21, 2014
In Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy, the self-induced, self-absorbed Greek tragedy of Andrew Lohse.An Ivy League Frat Boy’s Shallow Repentance
November 24, 2014
It is their virtue in life to be lonely, and none but the lonely man in tragedy may be great.Riders to the Sea
J. M. Synge
He had no suspicion as to the tragedy that lay between him and her.
It was Demarest who gave an official touch to the tragedy of the moment.
In the first second of the tragedy, Dick had not understood.
Reginald's escape had rather knocked the tragedy out of the evening.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
- (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
Word Origin and History for tragedy
late 14c., "play or other serious literary work with an unhappy ending," from Old French tragedie (14c.), from Latin tragedia "a tragedy," from Greek tragodia "a dramatic poem or play in formal language and having an unhappy resolution," apparently literally "goat song," from tragos "goat" + oide "song." The connection may be via satyric drama, from which tragedy later developed, in which actors or singers were dressed in goatskins to represent satyrs. But many other theories have been made (including "singer who competes for a goat as a prize"), and even the "goat" connection is at times questioned. Meaning "any unhappy event, disaster" is from c.1500.
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.