Definition of doleful in English:



  • 1Expressing sorrow; mournful.

    ‘a doleful look’
    • ‘Fairground organ ditties blaring from food stalls soon gave way to the doleful strains of a whiny brass band playing funeral music.’
    • ‘He looked at us searchingly, a doleful expression demanding our sympathy.’
    • ‘Dream about snowflakes as the doleful synthesizers moan like winter winds.’
    • ‘He said: ‘We shall all miss her but it won't be a sad, doleful funeral.’’
    • ‘Apart from the house, only the doleful eyes of the writer are visible to the public in the caricature.’
    • ‘Knowing nothing about my departure, the faithful animal still waited for me as usual, its eyes getting more doleful each day.’
    • ‘His voice, as doleful as his bloodhound eyes, is his trump card.’
    • ‘They're no less doleful when they see me going about alone.’
    • ‘In one, a lifelike depiction of a young man with doleful, melancholy eyes lies within the still, tightly bound wrappings of the mummy.’
    • ‘However, even he sounds a little doleful when the subject is brought up.’
    • ‘Nicholas watched her with his doleful blue eyes as she walked away.’
    • ‘Along the way they find the time to take in a Blind Willie Johnson blues number, a doleful love song in French and an old-time Appalachian ditty.’
    • ‘The whole family filed into my surgery to thank me, bobbing and bowing, looking so doleful, then smiling.’
    • ‘His words filled hearts, turned eyes moist, and made many doleful as he saluted those who were not with us any longer as they laid down their lives for the country.’
    • ‘My parents' doleful reaction always struck me as odd.’
    • ‘The old dilapidated building where the two women meet each other is made even more gloomy and doleful by an unexpected downpour.’
    • ‘There were just a few doleful looking people sitting in chairs who were outnumbered by the armed security guards protecting the X-Ray machine and metal detector while striving to provide quality service to their customers.’
    • ‘It reminded me suddenly of the reason why people say that the bell in Nanjing tends to be more doleful than those in other cities.’
    • ‘The final selection, ‘Night Prayers,’ is from Georgia, and has a doleful melody typical of traditional Russian music.’
    • ‘Instead, he wrote, played all the instruments, multi-tracked the doleful harmonies and produced this deceptively drifting solo project.’
    mournful, woeful, sorrowful, sad, unhappy, depressed, dismal, gloomy, morose, melancholy, miserable, forlorn, wretched, woebegone, despondent, dejected, disconsolate, downcast, crestfallen, downhearted, heartbroken, heavy-hearted, despairing, desolate, grief-stricken
    tearful, teary, lachrymose
    blue, down, down in the mouth, down in the dumps, weepy
    heartsick, heartsore
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    1. 1.1Causing grief or misfortune.
      ‘doleful consequences’
      • ‘Bureaucracy plays its usual doleful part in the process, of course.’
      • ‘There can be no joy in war: it is always repulsive in actual detail, but if we are not left with the facts, then the world is deprived even of doleful experience of the battlefield.’