Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Sorrow or grief; misery. synonym: regret.
  • noun Misfortune or wretchedness.
  • noun A cause of sorrow or misery; a misfortune.
  • interjection Used to express sorrow or dismay.
  • idiom (woe is me) Used to lament one's situation or fate.
  • idiom (woe to (someone)) Used to express the wish that misfortune befall someone.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Alas! an exclamation of pain or grief. See woe, n.
  • noun Grief; sorrow; misery; heavy calamity.
  • noun A heavy calamity; an affliction.
  • noun It is also used in exclamations of sorrow, in such cases the noun or pronoun following being really in the dative.
  • noun Synonyms Distress, tribulation, affliction, bitterness, unhappiness, wretchedness. Woe is an intense unhappiness; the word is strong aud elevated, almost poetical.
  • Sad; sorrowful; miserable; woeful; wretched.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Woeful; sorrowful.
  • noun Grief; sorrow; misery; heavy calamity.
  • noun A curse; a malediction.
  • noun Woe be to. See Worth, v. i.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun grief; sorrow; misery; heavy calamity.
  • adjective obsolete woeful; sorrowful

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

  • noun intense mournfulness
  • noun misery resulting from affliction

Etymologies

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

[Middle English wa, wo, from Old English , woe!.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English wo, wei, wa, from Old English , from Proto-Germanic *wai, whence also German weh, Old High German , Old Norse vei. Compare Latin vae.

Examples

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