• WordNet 3.6
    • n tragedy drama in which the protagonist is overcome by some superior force or circumstance; excites terror or pity
    • n tragedy an event resulting in great loss and misfortune "the whole city was affected by the irremediable calamity","the earthquake was a disaster"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: There was a book written fourteen years before the sinking of the Titanic happened titled "Futility" by Morgan Robertson. This book was remarkably similar to the tragedy that happened to the Titanic in 1912
    • Tragedy A dramatic poem, composed in elevated style, representing a signal action performed by some person or persons, and having a fatal issue; that species of drama which represents the sad or terrible phases of character and life. "Tragedy is to say a certain storie,
      As olde bookes maken us memorie,
      Of him that stood in great prosperitee
      And is yfallen out of high degree
      Into misery and endeth wretchedly."
      "All our tragedies are of kings and princes.""tragedy is poetry in its deepest earnest; comedy is poetry in unlimited jest."
    • Tragedy A fatal and mournful event; any event in which human lives are lost by human violence, more especially by unauthorized violence.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n tragedy A dramatic poem or composition representing an important event or series of events in the life of some person or persons, in which the diction is grave and dignified, the movement impressive and stately, and the catastrophe unhappy; that form of the drama which represents a somber or a pathetic character involved in a situation of extremity or desperation by the force of an unhappy passion. Types of these characters are found in Shakspere's Lady Macbeth and Ophelia, Rowe's Jane Shore, and Scott's Master of Ravenswood. Tragedy originated among the Greeks in the worship of the god Dionysus or Bacchus. A Greek tragedy consisted of two parts—the dialogue, which corresponded in its general features to the dramatic compositions of modern times; and the chorus, the tone of which was lyrical rather than dramatical, and which was meant to be sung, while the dialogue was to be recited.
    • n tragedy [capitalized] Tragedy personified, or the Muse of tragedy. See cut under Melpomene.
    • n tragedy A fatal event; a dreadful calamity.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Tragedy traj′e-di a species of drama in which the action and language are elevated, and the catastrophe sad: any mournful and dreadful event
    • ***


  • Horace Walpole
    “Life is a comedy for those who think... and a tragedy for those who feel.”
  • Jacques Barzun
    Jacques Barzun
    “Only a great mind that is overthrown yields tragedy.”
  • Dorothy Parker
    “It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes.”
  • George Bernard Shaw
    “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it.”
  • Tom Stoppard
    “The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.”
  • Stephen Vizinczey
    Stephen Vizinczey
    “When you close your eyes to tragedy, you close your eyes to greatness.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. tragedie, OF. tragedie, F. tragédie, L. tragoedia, Gr. , fr. a tragic poet and singer, originally, a goat singer; a goat (perhaps akin to to gnaw, nibble, eat, and E. trout,) + to sing; from the oldest tragedies being exhibited when a goat was sacrificed, or because a goat was the prize, or because the actors were clothed in goatskins. See Ode
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Lit. 'goat-song,' so called either from the old dramas being exhibited when a goat was sacrificed, or from a goat being the prize, or because the actors were dressed in goat-skins—L. tragœdia—Gr. tragōdiatragos, a he-goat, aoidos, ōdos, a singer—aeidein, adein, to sing.


In literature:

At the time when the great Shakespeare wrote his tragedies in ink, the Serbs wrote theirs in blood.
"Serbia in Light and Darkness" by Nikolaj Velimirovic
The tragedies of the mind are increasing.
"The Call of the Blood" by Robert Smythe Hichens
On the sixth day the tragedy happened.
"The Best Short Stories of 1915" by Various
Richardson was too good an artist to spoil his tragedy; and was rewarded by an account of her emotions on reading the last volumes.
"Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.)" by Leslie Stephen
But all I mean is that, in a properly regulated state, Ferguson's tragedy would not have occurred.
"The Best Short Stories of 1917" by Various
I have admired tragedy from my earliest days.
"Boycotted" by Talbot Baines Reed
He is the author of sixteen plays, chiefly heroic tragedies; children who all bear the features of their father.
"Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3)" by Isaac D'Israeli
Hardly, if at all, less powerful are the later tragedies of the Roman group.
"The Facts About Shakespeare" by William Allan Nielson
Thus a tragedy might be a bad tragedy, but it was always a tragedy.
"Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens" by G. K. Chesterton
As a tragedy of common life, we know of few rivals to it, certainly of no superior.
"The Life of Friedrich Schiller" by Thomas Carlyle

In poetry:

Whose weary feet knew not the bliss
Of dance by jocund reed;
Who never dallied at a kiss!
If heaven refuses her, life is
A tragedy indeed!
"The Drudge" by John Charles McNeill
Our lives avoided tragedy
Simply by going on and on,
Without end and with little apparent meaning.
Oh, there were storms and small catastrophes.
"Pantoum Of The Great Depression" by Donald Justice
A singer once, I now am fain to weep,
Within my soul I feel strange music swell,
Vast chants of tragedy too deep - too deep
For my poor lips to tell.
"From the Somme" by Leslie Coulson
Oh solemn, sad, sweet mystery
That Earth's unrivaled brilliancy
Is but her splendid pall!
That Heaven were not what it is
But for that crown of tragedies,
The sacrifice for all.
"Autumn-Time" by Hattie Howard
But we did not ourselves know what the end was.
People like us simply go on.
We had our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues,
But it is by blind chance only that we escape tragedy.
"Pantoum Of The Great Depression" by Donald Justice
And treat ye, like pretty Blanche Marsden,
Who by her folly has been the death of one of the finest men;
So all kind parents, be warned by me,
And remember always this sad Tragedy!
"The Death of Fred Marsden, the American Playwright" by William Topaz McGonagall

In news:

Four vets killed in parade tragedy.
The college president says it's important to reflect on the tragedy.
Tragedy leads woman to fruitful organic wine venture.
VIDEO Safe haven rises out of Dawson tragedy.
'What It Is Like to Go to War ': Karl Marlantes' unvarnished account of the highs, lows and tragedy of war.
Words of comfort fail in face of Altamont go-kart tragedy.
Brought together by tragedy, the hardy band of survivors from "The Walking Dead" prepares to battle more zombies AMC via The Washington Post.
Now, many people in the town of Scott want the Department Of Transportation to install a guardrail to prevent another tragedy.
We in the news business are accustomed to reporting on tragedy.
The Glorious Tragedy of Julia Caesar.
US women's Olympic semifinal, Columbus Crew tragedy, 60,908 for Seattle Sounders, Charlie Davies in Denmark, Real Madrid in Las Vegas.
With the recent tragedy of a soldier accused of killing and then disposing of his wife’s body within the vicinity of their daughter, I have only one reply: It’s going to get worse.
Two UM students bond from tragedy.
Gonzalez family tragedy — one year later.
Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy.

In science:

This resulting suboptimal usage of the spectrum recall us the dilemma presented in , known as the tragedy of the commons.
On the Benefits of Bandwidth Limiting in Decentralized Vector Multiple Access Channels
The problem of space debris is similar to other international environmental problems in that there is a potential for a tragedy of the commons effect–individual nations bear all the cost of their mitigation measures but share only a fraction of the benefit.
Model of an International Environmental Agreement among Asymmetric Nations applied to Debris Mitigation
Coalitions of nations, brought together by IEAs, have the potential to lessen the tragedy of the commons effect by pooling the costs and benefits of mitigation.
Model of an International Environmental Agreement among Asymmetric Nations applied to Debris Mitigation
PROBL EM S TATEM EN T When actions of individuals affect a shared resource, there is potential for a tragedy of the commons scenario: individual decision-makers under-invest in protection if they see only a fraction of the benefits from the investment.
Model of an International Environmental Agreement among Asymmetric Nations applied to Debris Mitigation
Consequently, a stream of recent literature has sought to understand how nations can form coalitions to counter the potential for tragedy of the commons scenarios in protecting the environment.
Model of an International Environmental Agreement among Asymmetric Nations applied to Debris Mitigation