characteristic or suggestive of tragedy: tragic solemnity.
extremely mournful, melancholy, or pathetic: a tragic plight.
dreadful, calamitous, disastrous, or fatal: a tragic event.
of, pertaining to, characterized by, or of the nature of tragedy: the tragic drama.
acting in or writing tragedy: a tragic actor; a tragic poet.


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. 2019

Examples from the Web for tragically

Contemporary Examples of tragically

Historical Examples of tragically

  • Coleridge's blossoming period as a romantic poet was tragically brief.

  • It is an irony that they should so tragically have affected others.

    The Moon and Sixpence

    W. Somerset Maugham

  • But none of them guessed how tragically it would really end.


    Louisa M. Alcott

  • "I think the patient's dead already," answered Aleck, tragically.

  • "Let me embrace you," cries Cecil, tragically, flinging herself into her arms.

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

British Dictionary definitions for tragically


less commonly tragical (ˈtrædʒɪkəl)


of, relating to, or characteristic of tragedy
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 tragically



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