• WordNet 3.6
    • adj woeful affected by or full of grief or woe "his sorrow...made him look...haggard and...woebegone"- George du Maurier"
    • adj woeful of very poor quality or condition "deplorable housing conditions in the inner city","woeful treatment of the accused","woeful errors of judgment"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Woeful Bringing calamity, distress, or affliction; as, a woeful event; woeful want. "O woeful day! O day of woe!"
    • Woeful Full of woe; sorrowful; distressed with grief or calamity; afflicted; wretched; unhappy; sad. "How many woeful widows left to bow
      To sad disgrace!"
    • Woeful Wretched; paltry; miserable; poor. "What woeful stuff this madrigal would be!"
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • woeful Full of woe; distressed with grief or calamity; afflicted; sorrowful.
    • woeful Relating or pertaining to woe; expressing woe; characterized by sorrow or woe; deplorable.
    • woeful Wretched; paltry; mean; pitiful.
    • woeful =Syn.2. Mournful, calamitous, disastrous, afflictive, miserable, grievous. See woe.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Woeful (Scot.) sorrowful: bringing calamity: wretched
    • ***


  • D. H. Lawrence
    “I cannot cure myself of that most woeful of youth's follies -- thinking that those who care about us will care for the things that mean much to us.”
  • Thomas Fuller
    “Willful waste brings woeful want.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. (interj.) ; Ger. weh; L. , Gr. ouai. Cf. Wail.


In literature:

A woeful residence it was; for now began the fourteen terrible years of my darling's passion.
"The Well in the Desert" by Emily Sarah Holt
I'm woeful thirsty this morning.
"The White Chief" by Mayne Reid
That evening, Bertram told the details of that woeful story.
"The White Rose of Langley" by Emily Sarah Holt
At length, however, the antagonists separated, both presenting a woeful appearance.
"Tales of the Sea" by W.H.G. Kingston
"The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. 1 (2 vols)" by Thomas De Quincey
Before Marsile, his spouse, Queen Bramimunde, Bursts into tears, and cries, and woeful moans.
"La Chanson de Roland" by Léon Gautier
Having heard his woeful relation through, I did what any one entitled to the name of man, would have done under the like circumstances.
"Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gentleman" by William L. Stone
Perhaps she might have looked less terribly wan and woeful if she had done so.
"Earl Hubert's Daughter" by Emily Sarah Holt
Thy song wafts me upon the tranquil fields of calm When jackals born of woeful cares within me howl.
"Life Immovable" by Kostes Palamas
The war was protracted beyond all early expectation; it was costly, bitter, woeful.
"The Negro and the Nation" by George S. Merriam
Oh, woeful was Sigmund for the death of his kinsman and his comrade.
"The Children of Odin" by Padraic Colum
He was steering at the time, and by some woeful mishap the pistol went off.
"Rodman The Boatsteerer And Other Stories" by Louis Becke
Oh, I was woeful, master.
"Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1909 to 1922" by Lucy Maud Montgomery
The influence that affects them is weak; they get only hazy impressions, and there is a woeful lack of ideas.
"Genuine Mediumship or The Invisible Powers" by Bhakta Vishita
What will become of me if at last such woeful tidings should be brought?
"Hero-Myths & Legends of the British Race" by Maud Isabel Ebbutt
The girl could not help laughing at his woeful appearance.
"Little Wizard Stories of Oz" by L. Frank Baum
Then Jenny told a woeful tale, her eyes flashing, her lips quivering, and her voice ringing with indignation.
"Capt'n Davy's Honeymoon 1893" by Hall Caine
Her scream of terror was lest she be separated from that most woeful group of miserables.
"The Treasure Trail" by Marah Ellis Ryan
One day his lordship came into Court very late, looking very woeful.
"Law and Laughter" by George Alexander Morton
They had much delight to hear of the woeful time of the white men.
"The Flute of the Gods" by Marah Ellis Ryan

In poetry:

There all the traiterous men were slaine,
Not one escapte away;
And there dyed all my vallyant knightes.
Alas! that woefull day!
"The Legend of King Arthur" by Thomas Percy
Sad mother, weeping for thy child,
A woeful mother shares thy mourning
My son, too, strayed into the wild,
I sought, but hope not, his returning.
"The Black Snakes" by Janet Hamilton
"Dense are the crowds, and distracting is the strife,
A wrestle, and a bustle, and a battle to the knife;
Alas! for the woefulness and weariness of life,
To be but as one among the million!
"One Among The Million" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
"I know to Belsen they were sent;
I never heard of them again.
So many were like that - they went,
Our woeful quest was all in vain.
I was in London with a friend,
Or I, too, would have shared their end.
"The Locket" by Robert W Service
I came upon a mansion bright,
From every window streamed the light;
Sweet strains of music reached my ear,
And peals of laughter loud and clear.
"Ah! this gay throng, I quickly see,
Would be no place for woeful me."
"Imogene" by Eloise Alberta Bibb
Sons of England, noble England, Scotia tells a woeful tale;
And from all the land of Erin, comes a moan upon the gale;
Out of billow-seated Erin, wakes a wild and fearful cry,
"Noble sons of noble England, we of hunger faint and die.
"An Appeal on the Potatoe Famine" by Samuel Bamford

In news:

The woeful Colts could use the sex appeal of the most alluring woman of 2012.
Ryan remains bullish despite Jets' woeful offense.
Sundance reflected our woeful world.
The woeful Raiders threw for 368 yards against them.
A-Rod homers The Yankees' woeful start to the season became even more of a memory Friday when they won their fourth straight game, beating the Angels 5-0 in their home opener in The Bronx.
There are any number of woeful statistics that you can cherry-pick to capture the awfulness of America's employment market.
The Washington Capitals get stunned on ice by a woeful divison foe in the Carolina Hurricanes.
The woeful Miami Heat, who had a 25 percent chance of getting the No.
Palmer poised to take advantage of woeful Saints defense.
Cowboys' D heals vs woeful Bucs.
CU Buffs' offense woeful vs Stanford.
Woeful Astros in a league of their own.
Faldon's Five Thoughts: Wilson's Woeful Day.
Woeful shooting in LSU vs OSU game.
With Little to Play For, Maryland Offers Woeful Effort in Charlottesville.