• synonyms


or wo·ful

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  1. full of woe; wretched; unhappy: a woeful situation.
  2. affected with, characterized by, or indicating woe: woeful melodies.
  3. of wretched quality; sorry; poor: a woeful collection of paintings.
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Origin of woeful

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at woe, -ful
Related formswoe·ful·ly, adverbwoe·ful·ness, nounun·woe·ful, adjectiveun·woe·ful·ly, adverbun·woe·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms for woeful

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for woful

mournful, sorrowful, bleak, depressing, dismal, doleful, dour, funeral, gloomy, morose, sad, woebegone, woful

Examples from the Web for woful

Historical Examples of woful

  • The beginning and root of this woful calamity was a light look.

    A Literary History of the English People

    Jean Jules Jusserand

  • And there was the visit to that woful church, damp, rotten, ruinous.

    Two Suffolk Friends

    Francis Hindes Groome

  • Even in this woful climax, Theodora noted the gurgle of the child's sobs.

    Teddy: Her Book

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • Oh, sir, it was a woful thing to be haunted by this phantom apparition.

    A Stable for Nightmares

    J. Sheridan Le Fanu

  • Wan from the wild and woful West—Sleep, little babe, sleep on!

British Dictionary definitions for woful


  1. expressing or characterized by sorrow
  2. bringing or causing woe
  3. pitiful; miserablea woeful standard of work
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Derived Formswoefully, adverbwoefulness, noun
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 woful



c.1300, "afflicted with sorrow," from woe + -ful. Weakened sense of "very bad" recorded by 1610s. Related: Woefully; woefulness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper