noun, plural trag·i·com·e·dies.

a dramatic or other literary composition combining elements of both tragedy and comedy.
an incident, or series of incidents, of mixed tragic and comic character.

Origin of tragicomedy

1570–80; < Late Latin tragicōmoedia, syncopated variant of Latin tragicocōmoedia. See tragic, -o-, comedy
Related formstrag·i·com·ic [traj-i-kom-ik] /ˌtrædʒ ɪˈkɒm ɪk/, trag·i·com·i·cal, adjectivetrag·i·com·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tragicomedy

Contemporary Examples of tragicomedy

Historical Examples of tragicomedy

  • All the participants in this tragicomedy are now going through the motions.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • The Humorous Lieutenant is of that kind,—it is called a tragicomedy by some.

    Francis Beaumont: Dramatist

    Charles Mills Gayley

  • In tragedy it plays a fitful part, but in tragicomedy it conquers the theatres.


    Ashley H. Thorndike

  • Women survive the tragicomedy only by dint of their great capacity for play-acting.

    In Defense of Women

    H. L. Mencken

  • How far Byron was in earnest in this tragicomedy is more difficult to determine.

British Dictionary definitions for tragicomedy


noun plural -dies

  1. a drama in which aspects of both tragedy and comedy are found
  2. the dramatic genre of works of this kind
an event or incident having both comic and tragic aspects
Derived Formstragicomic or tragicomical, adjectivetragicomically, adverb

Word Origin for tragicomedy

C16: from French, ultimately from Late Latin tragicōmoedia; see tragedy, 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

Word Origin and History for tragicomedy

1570s, from Middle French tragicomédie (1540s), from Italian tragicommedia, from Late Latin tragicomoedia (c.325), contraction of tragicocomoedia (Plautus), from tragicus (see tragic) + comoedia (see comedy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper