One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1In a manner expressing sorrow or misery.‘she sighed woefully and walked out’‘David talks woefully of life’
- ‘He walked woefully up the stairs that led into the ship.’
- ‘He sat there for a long time sipping dry martinis and looking woefully into the peanut dish.’
- ‘Old Jan looks up and complains woefully.’
- ‘He points out similar flaws, then adds woefully that "at this point it's all we have."’
- ‘"I had better face the lion," he said woefully.’
2Very badly; deplorably.‘they performed woefully to lose 2–0’as submodifier ‘preparations proved woefully inadequate’
- ‘The visitors' reply started woefully as they slid to 27 for 6 before James Key came on late to polish off the tail with 4 for 4.’
- ‘The squad still looked woefully lacking in depth, with the defence looking especially fragile.’
- ‘He ought to be wholeheartedly congratulated on this significant addition to a field of study that remains woefully in need of such an incisive and highly informed contribution.’
- ‘His pronouncement last week about condoms is the latest example of him seeming woefully out of touch.’
- ‘Asked to describe the novel in 70 words or less, he failed woefully, speaking for several minutes before being informed that he had exceeded his word limit.’
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