Slang dictionary

woe is me

[woh iz mee]

What does woe is me mean?

Woe is me is an over-dramatic, often comical way to express sadness or disappointment at an unfair situation. The phrase carries such connotations because of its archaic-sounding grammatical structure.

Where does woe is me come from?

Examples of woe is me

It's so annoying when guys play the "woe is me" because they're single; chances are they're the ones that ruined their own chances 😂😭
@Christina_Teeee, March, 2018
The “struggle” of the cruise life: taking a shower at around 4pm and deciding if I should get dressed for dinner early, or put on regular clothes for like an hour. Woe is me!
Matt Hochberg, Royal Caribbean Blog, March, 2018
Lack of self-control while trying to do things our own way causes us to miss the blessings that come from fully trusting in the lord. Then there comes the woe-is-me factor as if the lord is against you in some way. Now, here comes the pity party and lack of faith in that which you know is true.
Edith Nevis, Houma Today, March, 2018

Who uses woe is me?

The connotation of the phrase woe is me changes most notably depending on whether the speaker is directing the expression at themselves or at someone else.

When someone says woe is me about themselves, they are most likely using the phrase in a comical way. They might respond to an insignificant problem—if not highlight relative privilege and luxury—with woe is me as a playful overreaction. Someone could use woe is me in a similar way to “first world problems,” (e.g., Should I get the black iPhone or the rose gold one? I can’t pick. Woe is me!). In some situations, woe is me can also be used to sarcastically belittle someone else’s “misery” in a similar tongue-in-cheek way.

Saying that someone else has a woe-is-me attitude or personality is saying that they are too self-pitying, succumb to a negative situation, act like a victim, or expect success to be handed to them. Most speakers who attribute a woe-is-me attitude to someone else are using the phrase to disparage their perceived weakness or softness.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of woe is me like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of woe is me that will help our users expand their word mastery.