AskDefine | Define woe

The Collaborative Dictionary

Woe \Woe\, a. Woeful; sorrowful. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] His clerk was woe to do that deed. --Robert of Brunne. [1913 Webster] Woe was this knight and sorrowfully he sighed. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] And looking up he waxed wondrous woe. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]
Woe \Woe\, n. [OE. wo, wa, woo, AS. w[=a], interj.; akin to D. wee, OS. & OHG. w[=e], G. weh, Icel. vei, Dan. vee, Sw. ve, Goth. wai; cf. L. vae, Gr. ?. [root]128. Cf. Wail.] [Formerly written also wo.] [1913 Webster]
Grief; sorrow; misery; heavy calamity. [1913 Webster] Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, Sad instrument of all our woe, she took. --Milton. [1913 Webster] [They] weep each other's woe. --Pope. [1913 Webster]
A curse; a malediction. [1913 Webster] Can there be a woe or curse in all the stores of vengeance equal to the malignity of such a practice? --South. [1913 Webster] Note: Woe is used in denunciation, and in exclamations of sorrow. " Woe is me! for I am undone." --Isa. vi.
[1913 Webster] O! woe were us alive [i.e., in life]. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! --Isa. xlv.
[1913 Webster] Woe worth, Woe be to. See Worth, v. i. [1913 Webster] Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day, That costs thy life, my gallant gray! --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 misery resulting from affliction [syn: suffering]
2 intense mournfulness [syn: woefulness]

Moby Thesaurus

abomination, aching heart, affliction, agony, agony of mind, anguish, atrocity, bad, bale, bane, befoulment, bemoaning, bewailing, bitter cup, bitter draft, bitter draught, bitter pill, bitterness, bleeding heart, blight, broken heart, bugbear, burden, burden of care, calamity, cankerworm of care, care, carking care, cataclysm, catastrophe, corruption, cross, crown of thorns, crushing, crushing burden, crying evil, curse, damage, death, defilement, depression, depth of misery, desolation, despair, despoliation, destruction, detriment, disease, distress, dole, encumbrance, evil, extremity, gall, gall and wormwood, grief, grievance, harm, havoc, heartache, heartbreak, heartfelt grief, heartgrief, heavy heart, hurt, ill, infection, infelicity, infliction, injury, lamentation, languishment, load, melancholia, melancholy, misadventure, mischief, misery, nemesis, open wound, oppression, outrage, pack of troubles, peck of troubles, pest, pestilence, pining, plague, poison, pollution, prostration, regret, rue, running sore, sadness, scourge, sea of troubles, sorrow, sorrowing, suicidal despair, the worst, thorn, torment, toxin, tragedy, trouble, unhappiness, venom, vexation, visitation, waters of bitterness, weight, wretchedness, wrong



Old English


  • (UK): /wəʊ/, /w@U/
  • (US): , /woʊ/, /woU/
  • Rhymes with: -əʊ



  1. grief; sorrow; misery; heavy calamity.


grief; sorrow; misery; heavy calamity
Woe may refer to:
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