from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Marked by or exhibiting sorrow, grief, or pain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Solemnly or ponderously sad.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of grief; sad; sorrowful; doleful; dismal
  • adj. Occasioning pain or grief; painful.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Exciting or expressing sorrow, grief, or distress; dismal; mournful: as, a dolorous object; a dolorous region; dolorous sighs.
  • Painful; giving pain.
  • Synonyms See list under doleful.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. showing sorrow


Middle English, from Old French doloros, from Late Latin dolōrōsus, from dolor, dolor; see dolor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French dolerous (modern French douloureux), from Latin dolōrōsus ("painful"). (Wiktionary)


  • "Don't you? it can't be helped then!" replied he in dolorous resignation: then, with a peculiar half smile, he added, "But never mind; I imagine the squire has more to apologize for than I," and left the cottage.

    Agnes Grey

  • These words uttered, she descends to earth in all her terrors, and calls dolorous Allecto from the home of the Fatal Sisters in nether gloom, whose delight is in woeful wars, in wrath and treachery and evil feuds: hateful to [327-360] lord Pluto himself, hateful and horrible to her hell-born sisters; into so many faces does she turn, so savage the guise of each, so thick and black bristles she with vipers.

    The Aeneid of Virgil

  • His expression was dolorous, I guess because he’d wanted to get rid of me.

    Haunted Honeymoon

  • But, Nabokov being Nabokov, what clinches it for me is that dismal haze — which could equally be described as a dolorous haze or you see where I’m going with this as a Dolores Haze.

    Lolita’s Ancestor - Paper Cuts Blog -

  • He found a kind of dolorous amusement in seeing now much more at home all the youngsters about him seemed than he.

    The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story

  • Even if it's a sad thing, you want to get the essence of the most dolorous phrases and connect them in some way, and so in that way try to perfect something.

    On writing: authors reveal the secrets of their craft

  • If you removed the ultimate object – for one woman, a novel, for another, a home so perfectly created and maintained that nothing rank or dolorous could ever take root there – you had, essentially, the same effort.

    Virginia Woolf, my mother and me

  • One of these, the parlor, gay with an ingrain carpet and dolorous with a funeral card and a death-picture of one of her numerous departed babes, was kept strictly for company.

    Chapter 23

  • In Puccini's dolorous "Crisantemi," the sense of world-weary detachment was not completely apt, the suffering held at a distance.

    Music review: The Quatuor Debussy with Katherine Chi at Library of Congress

  • You almost feel bad for them, those dolorous Madonnas who look as though their babies have just passed wind but they're trying to hold it together for the picture.

    Brilliant, Google Art Project! The only bad thing about museums is museums!


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  • "Come on home now! All my bones are dolorous with vines." --Joanna Newsom

    December 1, 2008

  • Are you receiving me through steel
    dolorous Inter-City lines?

    - Peter Reading, Juncture, from For the Municipality's Elderly, 1974

    June 22, 2008

  • Definitely disgraceful!

    August 22, 2007

  • "Dolorous, Delores deplored Dorothy's departing deportment."

    August 22, 2007