1. characteristic or suggestive of tragedy: tragic solemnity.
  2. extremely mournful, melancholy, or pathetic: a tragic plight.
  3. dreadful, calamitous, disastrous, or fatal: a tragic event.
  4. of, pertaining to, characterized by, or of the nature of tragedy: the tragic drama.
  5. acting in or writing tragedy: a tragic actor; a tragic poet.
  1. the tragic, the element or quality of tragedy in literature, art, drama, etc.: lives that had never known anything but the tragic.
Sometimes trag·i·cal (for defs 1–3).

Origin of tragic

1535–45; < Latin tragicus < Greek tragikós of tragedy, equivalent to trág(os) goat + -ikos -ic
Related formstrag·i·cal·ly, adverbtrag·i·cal·ness, nounhy·per·trag·ic, adjectivehy·per·trag·i·cal, adjectivehy·per·trag·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·trag·ic, adjectivenon·trag·i·cal, adjectivenon·trag·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·trag·i·cal·ness, nounqua·si-trag·ic, adjectivequa·si-trag·i·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·trag·ic, adjectivesu·per·trag·i·cal·ly, adverbun·trag·ic, adjectiveun·trag·i·cal, adjectiveun·trag·i·cal·ly, adverbun·trag·i·cal·ness, noun

Synonyms for tragic

2. distressing, pitiful.

Antonyms for tragic

1–3. comic. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tragical

Historical Examples of tragical

  • But I am not come yet to the tragical part of my story, and as long as I can laugh I will.

  • The morning dawned, and day broke in upon the tragical scene.

  • In fact, the strangest, the most horrible and tragical stories were current on the subject.


    Emile Zola

  • They told her in whispers that what she held as tragical was a very simple matter.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • How happy had been the Discovery some few Hours ago, and how Tragical is it now?

British Dictionary definitions for tragical


less commonly tragical (ˈtrædʒɪkəl)

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of tragedy
  2. mournful or pitiablea tragic face
Derived Formstragically, adverb
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 tragical



1540s, "calamitous, disastrous, fatal," shortened from tragical (late 15c.), modeled on Latin tragicus, from Greek tragikos "of or pertaining to tragedy," literally "of or pertaining to a goat," and probably referring to a satyr impersonated by a goat singer or satyric actor (see tragedy). Tragic flaw (1913) translates Greek hamartia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper