One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Expressing sorrow, distress, or regret: ‘alas!’ ‘woe!’ Compare "wirra".
An exclamation of ‘wirrasthru’; a lament.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Gerald Griffin (1803–1840), novelist, playwright, and poet. From Irish a Mhuire, is trua (interjection) alas, what a pity from a Mhuire, vocative of the name of the Virgin Mary + is, copula + trua pity, use as noun of trua miserable, pitiful (formerly truagh; Early Irish trúag, tróg), cognate with Welsh † tru wretched, miserable, Gaulish trougo- (in personal names).
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