Definition of sorrow in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.

    ‘a bereaved person needs time to work through their sorrow’
    • ‘Pain, anger, suffering, sorrow, loss, death, distraught, fear; all of those were brought on by war.’
    • ‘We enjoy his victories, and feel true sorrow for his losses.’
    • ‘He was standing stiffly at his gate, staring into the cemetery, his eyes deep pools of inexpressible sorrow.’
    • ‘With deep sorrow for those who suffered and died, I must say that his momentous decision, which hastened the end of that awful war, was justified.’
    • ‘She had a look of sorrow mixed with disappointment on her face.’
    • ‘But the scene avoids sentimentality also because we know it is bubbling up from deep personal sorrow.’
    • ‘It was also to remember her journey through pain, sorrow, loss and deprivation.’
    • ‘But it never occurred to her or her partners to complain, bearing in mind their deep sorrow and the great honour of taking part in such a glorious project.’
    • ‘Throughout his life, war would cause him deep personal sorrow.’
    • ‘Although they were getting along and all appeared to be going well on the outside he knew that he was masking his deep sorrow and loss through his music.’
    • ‘He has much the same look as the old man, the look of deep sorrow and despair.’
    • ‘The Civil War caused him great sorrow and the heavy losses on both sides filled him with sadness.’
    • ‘We need time to feel our pain, our loss, and our sorrow.’
    • ‘He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.’
    • ‘Mary suffered great sorrow in her life, but she accepted her losses and crosses.’
    • ‘She moved toward the stables, toward the horse that could take her to freedom, to bear her message of sorrow and loss.’
    • ‘His book revealed his sorrow and disappointment, nothing else.’
    • ‘And that was when he saw the confusion in the other's eyes, masking only deep sorrow and resentment.’
    • ‘But the feeling brought to us by the tragedy of the five students is deep sorrow, not pride.’
    • ‘The long years had done little to ease his sorrow at the loss of his mate, or the rage he felt towards her killers.’
    sadness, unhappiness, dejection, regret, depression, misery, cheerlessness, downheartedness, despondency, despair, desolation, wretchedness, glumness, gloom, gloominess, heaviness of heart, dolefulness, melancholy, low spirits, mournfulness, woe, broken-heartedness, heartache, grief
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    1. 1.1[count noun]An event or circumstance that causes sorrow.
      ‘it was a great sorrow to her when they separated’
      • ‘Whether you want to drown in melodic pop or pound out your sorrows to some '80s metal, there's a band or artist ready to help.’
      • ‘I want now to share her sorrows and forgive everything what happened in my life in the past and live a tension free, happy life.’
      • ‘This book, besides being dramatic history, is a moving chronicle of the sorrows and torments of the persecuted.’
      • ‘He shares our joys and sorrows, and when events like the tsunami challenge our Christian faith, it actually deepens our belief in Him.’
      • ‘It would spring like a fountain, covering all of her sorrows and worries, flowing like a river out of hell…’
      • ‘From the past sorrows, we derive our self-respect to love our compatriots.’
      • ‘Who knows what sorrows Abhinav's cheerful countenance concealed?’
      • ‘Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion and forgiveness.’
      • ‘Sharing overwhelming sorrows and affection, Yun suggested to Kim that they return to Korea.’
      • ‘Amid the discomforts of his passage the author reflects on or trawls his past, his sorrows and betrayals, his experience as a wartime evacuee.’
      • ‘Hakim, hearing my sorrows, thought, among other things, that I thought about it too much.’
      • ‘But experience has also helped deepen Taylor's early understanding of life's joys and its sorrows.’
      • ‘There was no drowning of sorrows, just a drink to the future.’
      • ‘I've had my sorrows and my heartaches, but I've had my joys, you know, and my rewards.’
      • ‘Jesus is coming this time not as a helpless baby in a manger, not as a man of sorrows, but as victor and conqueror to claim his own.’
      • ‘I take great pleasure in the wonderful sorrows of life, as Lucio used to say.’
      • ‘But still I'm enjoying myself: there's pleasure in reliving old sorrows at a safe distance.’
      • ‘Drown my sorrows or just make the most of being alive!’
      • ‘Both are forced to seek consolation in drink, both forced to burden their young with their sorrows.’
      • ‘Joe had many sorrows in life, his good wife Mary died, and his son Michael died at 26 years of age.’
      trouble, difficulty, problem, adversity, misery, woe, affliction, trial, tribulation, misfortune, reverse of fortune, misadventure, mishap, stroke of bad luck, setback, reverse, blow, failure, accident, disaster, tragedy, catastrophe, calamity
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    2. 1.2The outward expression of grief; lamentation.
      • ‘What heart without evaporating in sighs can ponder the burden of deepest sorrows and lamentations of parents, children, husbands, wives, kinsmen, friends.’


  • Feel or display deep distress.

    ‘the sorrowing widower found it hard to relate to his sons’
    • ‘After spending some time about the pool where it was believed Demeter had once sat sorrowing for her daughter, those seeking full initiation then entered the inner courtyard.’
    • ‘I sorrow for you, I have seen your devotion to her, but I speak the truth.’
    • ‘And I find myself wondering if the director, who recently turned 50, might not be at some sort of creative impasse, sorrowing for the lost simplicities of a rural way of life, and the passions and certainties of youth.’
    • ‘I sorrow for the buildings and the people who have gone.’
    • ‘Hill's tribute for his 70th birthday, a sequence of 120 stanzas, offers many more, puzzling voices - impatient, sorrowing, joking, gentle.’
    • ‘‘The village sorrowed when you left,’ she finally said in Elven with the familiar, heavy accent.’
    • ‘Of every tear that sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some good is born, some gentler nature comes.’
    • ‘Mostly they pull it off: Hanks with his fleshy, sorrowing potato-face, and Newman, his ageless blue eyes glaring out with a predatory serenity, conjuring something Shakespearean and damned.’
    • ‘No, it is not by sorrowing, nor by compulsion that truth can prosper, it is by patient work alone that the work can be done: -’
    • ‘I was amazed because he had never come into my mind save then; and I sorrowed, remembering his fate.’
    • ‘Maybe it won't, if in their grief Americans make common cause with other sorrowing humans.’
    • ‘I sorrow without relief for the sight that you deny, and die, for I long to die.’
    • ‘Does warfare cause us to sorrow over sin and pray for Christ's return?’
    • ‘Paul explains that his readers must not sorrow for their loved ones as do ‘the rest’ who have no hope.’
    • ‘Toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing onward through life we go.’
    • ‘The enslaved Baptist regretted and sorrowed over the inability in many instances to maintain family cohesion because of the auction block (as did the Muslim).’
    • ‘But those who can discern the Lord's body in the Supper and who comes sorrowing for sin and seeking grace are welcome at the feast.’
    • ‘Nowhere is this more visible than in the pasos or processional statues of bleeding Christs and sorrowing Virgins by Martínez Montañés, Juan de Mesa, the Moras, and Pedro Roldán.’
    • ‘How can we best serve the memory of the dead, have empathy for the frightened and sorrowing and express our own insecurities?’
    • ‘I left the lawn and moved in the white light and silence along the road, aimless and sorrowing.’
    be sad, feel sad, be miserable, be despondent, despair, suffer, ache, agonize, anguish, be wretched, be dejected, be heavy of heart, pine, weep, shed tears, grieve, mourn, lament, wail
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Old English sorh, sorg (noun), sorgian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zorg and German Sorge.