Definition of tragicomedy in English:



  • 1A play or novel containing elements of both comedy and tragedy.

    • ‘Of his three rousing tragicomedies, Juno and the Paycock is the most popular, The Shadow of a Gunman the most moving, and The Plow and the Stars the most accomplished.’
    • ‘Artistic features Measure for Measure has been perceived as an exceptionally complex and ‘dark’ comedy, or tragicomedy, mostly because of its peculiar structure and characterization.’
    • ‘If the play were a comedy, or at least a tragicomedy, Edgar's victory over Edmund would have turned the tribulation to joy.’
    • ‘Okay, so your life hasn't been made into a movie yet, but some days it has all of the makings of a studio tragicomedy.’
    • ‘I hated those mindless, endless Indian tragicomedies, with their maudlin themes and their (no less than) fifteen song-and-dance numbers.’
    • ‘And he aims to complete this picture with a tragicomedy dealing with the relationship between two fiery best friends.’
    • ‘John Dancer's tragicomedy Agrippa, King of Alba appeared in 1669.’
    • ‘In this tragicomedy, lives and careers take place backward, starting with the corruption of success and winding up at an innocent high school graduation.’
    • ‘And maybe, I too, was a little worried about the performance: an ultramodern and forward-looking interpretation of a tragicomedy about emotional desperation.’
    • ‘But any significant new insights into that strange, perverse Jacobean tragicomedy contrived to pass me by.’
    • ‘She has crafted a consistently engaging tragicomedy of life in the big city.’
    • ‘The terms black comedy and tragicomedy imply a mix of the mordant and the humorous.’
    • ‘This tragedy is transformed into a tragicomedy, and indeed, into a farce, by a mechanical device that belongs more to vaudeville than to a novel.’
    • ‘This odd-couple tragicomedy is so well acted by both men, so utterly involving, and so real.’
    • ‘Unfortunately the formula that produces big laughs on screen is somewhat less amusing for the fans of this latter long-running tragicomedy.’
    • ‘The play also captures something of Beckett's absurdist tragicomedy Waiting for Godot.’
    • ‘Her chance came in this 15 th-century tragicomedy by Fernando de Rojas about a madam at a brothel who agrees to help a nobleman seduce a young virgin.’
    • ‘It's like a romantic comedy written by Beckett - a romantic tragicomedy - in which romance dies not in some passionate combustion, but fizzles out into uncomfortable, aseptic banality.’
    • ‘That's because it is not a tragicomedy about being old, but about the grief of settling into middle age, specifically the middle age of a married working-class man.’
    1. 1.1mass noun Tragicomedies as a genre.
      • ‘This film could have been deadly earnest and full of moral fury, but the tone is the stuff of tragicomedy.’
      • ‘Part fairy tale, part tragicomedy, it's sure to be a hit.’
      • ‘It is not coincidental that tragicomedy has surfaced as a subgenre in war literature.’
      • ‘But both tyrant and rake coexist in tragicomedy, as they do in Clarissa.’
      • ‘Again there is a comparison with Beckett and tragicomedy, where happiness and sadness are all the more vivid from being in relief to each other.’
      • ‘The plays fall into the categories of history, tragedy, comedy and tragicomedy.’
      • ‘His most recent graphic novel is pure tragicomedy.’
      • ‘It would seem that tragicomedy was the new genre of the moment, and that Shakespeare, Fletcher, and Beaumont sparked each other off to develop that genre to its full potential.’


Late 16th century: from French tragicomédie or Italian tragicomedia, based on Latin tragicocomoedia, from tragicus (see tragic) + comoedia (see comedy).