Words Of Sorrow – 10 Most Sorrowful Words In English

Words Of Sorrow in English
Words Of Sorrow in English

What Impact Do The Words Of Sorrow Have In Us?  Doesn’t The Spirit Of The Sorrowful Words Trigger Our Eyes To Shed Tears?

Alas! And therefore, to be sorrowful is to be sad, quite naturally. One may be sorrowful regarding a particular mishap, an irretrievable loss, or an untoward incident.

However, it is to be noted that the degree of grief varies according to the situations as well as the persons concerned or involved. Black Color commonly express a state of sorrow.

We may, hence, look into the shades of being in this unhappy state.

In The Article



It is Germanic in origin with the Old English base – sort, sorg (noun); Georgian(verb).

It is pronounced as ‘saw row’. 

The Cambridge, the Oxford and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries sum it up as a feeling of great sadness, deep distress, grief or regret caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.

It is wise to wake up to the fact that one cannot be grieving endlessly over a loss or a mishap throughout one’s life, for there is much more to be done in this world than to be submerging oneself into the sea of sadness.

Giving grief it is due, one may place it at the back seat to move forward to reach one’s own goal in life; for grieving, I bet, is no one’s choice of goal.



Having Latin as its origin, dolour is a Middle English word that has come via Old French.

It is an adjective and is pronounced as‘doleres’. 

The Cambridge, the Oxford, and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries express the feeling as great sorrow, distress or emotional suffering. “No medicine may prevail … till the same dolorous tooth be … plucked up by the roots.”

When the British surgeon John Banister wrote the above quotation in 1578, dolorous could mean either “causing pain” or “distressful, sorrowful.” – Merriam-Webster. 

Initially, the term dolorous was linked to physical pain, but later it was used to describe emotional stress as well. When one tends to feel down with a heavy heart due to severe pain or grief, the person is said to be in a dolorous state.

We get to understand, therefore, that the word itself has been weighed down by sadness.



Its Greek origin melancholia is melancholy in Old French, and in Middle English becomes melancholy.

It is pronounced as Melen Keli

The Cambridge, the Oxford and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries gloom the word to pensive sadness.

The Greek physician Hippocrates had come out with the idea that a person’s nature is determined by one of the four senses of humor present in the body.

According to this old belief, the predominant bodily fluid is responsible for the temperament a person displays. The excess secretion of one of the fluids named black bile exhibits a melancholic disposition.

The other three senses of humor in the human body are blood, yellow bile and phlegm displaying sanguine, choleric and phlegmatic (apathetic) temperaments respectively.

Humour is, therefore, a state of mind; and according to this theory, these four senses of humor are related to earth – black bile, air-blood, fire – yellow bile, and water – phlegm.

Some of the famous Shakespeare’s characters like Jaques, Hotspur, Cassius, Falstaff, and his companions are seen displaying one or the other humor.

In fact, some of Ben Jonson’s works are based on this humor theory, noted one being the comic play titled Everyman in his humour (1598). A year later he wrote Everyman out his humour, a conceptual sequel to that comedy.



It is Greek in origin – agony, from agon; becomes the Middle English agony, via the Old French and the late Latin.

It is a noun and is pronounced as agony.

The Cambridge, the Oxford, and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries uniformly agree that agony is an extreme mental or physical pain/suffering.

The Christians may well be aware of the Agony in the Garden in The New Testament as well as the upcoming video game Agony.

Interestingly, when one is in a state of extreme excitement the person may intense pain in that joyous mood.

For instance, the feeling of the parents on seeing their new-born child may be a fitting example to explain this sense of the term.



It is Latinin origin – despondent, despondens. 

It is an adjective and is pronounced as ‘dispondensi’.

The Cambridge, the Oxford and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries describe the term as being depressed and dejected with lowness of spirits and a sense of hopelessness.

In The MahabarathaSaguni’s well-laid trap leaves the depressed Pandavas in a state of despondency.

The downhearted Draupadimiserably cries out to Lord Krishna for help. Failures in life, in general, and love, in particular, leave the persons concerned in such a state of despondency.



The Latin origin desolate (to abandon) and later Latindesolation, during the Middle English period becomes a desolation.

It is pronounced ASD-sele shun.

 The Cambridge, the Oxford and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries find the term in a deserted state of hopelessness, emptiness, and despair. Desolation leaves a person in an isolated state.

No man is an island, goes the saying. This state of desertion, therefore, strips a person of all clothing of protection and denies any sense of security that a person may long for.



It has Latin lament (weeping/wailing) as its origin -> French lamenter -> late Middle English ‘lament’.

It is a verb and it is pronounced as an element.

The Cambridge, the Oxford, and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries say that the term is an expression of grief or sadness, and is also used to feel sorry for something.

In literature, sorrow gets expressed in the form of music, song or poem. It is quite interesting to note that many of the oldest and most lasting poems have been laments.

For instance, The Lament of Sumer and Ur, Iliad and Odyssey and Beowulf are read even now.

There are also some well-known Scottish laments: MacCrimmon’s Lament, GriogalCridhe, and CumhadhnaCloinne” (Lament for the Children).

 During the Baroque and the Romantic periods, the lament was a short, free musical form. The scriptures of various religions have lamented at a considerable length.

When one laments (over something) one weeps or walls as the origin lament suggests.

For example, I keep lamenting over the loss of my beloved mother day in and day out. There is no point lamenting the orders by a government that has decided to act as a dictator.



With Germanic origin greet -> Old French regretted -> late Middle English ‘regret’. It may be used as a noun or a verb and it is pronounced as regret.

The Cambridge, the Oxford and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries define the term as a feeling of repentance about something one did or did not do.

Normally, the word is used as a caution for an action to be done or not to be done.

Some of the examples are given below:

One must vote for such a leader that one should not regret while he takes over the reins of the rule.
It is of no use regretting the past actions if one has to move forward.
My only regret in life is that I made the wrong choice of my career.



It is Greek in origin – kata (down) + strophe (turning) -> Latin – catastropha -> 16th Century English word catastrophe meant ‘denouement’.

It is a noun and is pronounced ask etas refi.

The Cambridge, the Oxford and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries explain the term as an event that causes sudden disaster and severe calamity leading to utter ruin.

In literature, the meaning of catastrophe as denouement catches significance.

The structure of an ancient Greek play (also called Freytag’s pyramid) consists of five elements: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.

The word ‘denouement’ is derived from ‘denoue’ which means ‘to unite’. It is the final resolution of the conflicts in a dramatic plot.

The tragedies of Shakespeare follow this structure of the Greek plays, and we shall find his tragic heroes streaming through this course.


It is Greek in origin and trauma literally means wound.

It is a noun and is pronounced Astro ma. The Cambridge, the Oxford, and the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries define the term as severe mental stress, emotional shock or physical pain resulting in a disordered psychic or a behavioral state.

It is quite a prominent term applied by both the physicians and the populace, in general, in this messy post-modern world.Ô There are a wide range of Popular Trauma Books in Goodreads if the readers are interested.

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