[woh-bi-gawn, -gon]
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  1. beset with woe; affected by woe, especially in appearance.
  2. showing or indicating woe: He always had a woebegone look on his face.

Origin of woebegone

1300–50; Middle English wo begon orig., woe (has or had) surrounded (someone); wo woe + begon, past participle of begon, Old English begān to surround, besiege (see be-, go1)
Related formswoe·be·gone·ness, noun

Synonyms for woebegone

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2. suffering, troubled, forlorn, gloomy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for woebegone


  1. sorrowful or sad in appearance
  2. archaic afflicted with woe

Word Origin for woebegone

C14: from a phrase such as me is wo begon woe has beset me
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 woebegone

c.1300, in me is wo bigone "woe has beset me," from woe + begon "to beset, surround."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper