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

  • interj. Used to express woe or distress.
  • n. A lamentation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. Expressing sadness, regret etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An exclamation expressive of grief or sorrow, equivalent to alas.
  • n. Woe; misery.


Middle English, alteration (influenced by well, well and awai, away) of Old English weilāwei, alteration (influenced by Old Scandinavian *wei, woe) of wā lā wā : , woe; see woe + , lo; see lo.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English weġ lā weġ, alteration of wā lā wā, with substitution of Old Norse vei for Old English . Compare wellawo, weila. (Wiktionary)



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