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Alternative forms




From Middle English dolorous, from Old French dolerous (modern French douloureux), from Late Latin dolōrōsus (painful), from Latin dolor. Doublet of dolorose.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdɒləɹəs/, /ˈdoʊləɹəs/



dolorous (comparative more dolorous, superlative most dolorous)

  1. Solemnly or ponderously sad.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book V, Canto IV”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      Through dolorous despaire, which she conceyved,
      Into the Sea her selfe did headlong throw,
      Thinking to have her griefe by death bereaved.
    • 1645, John Milton, On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, stanza 14:
      . . . Hell itself will pass away,
      And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, chapter 30, in A Tale of Two Cities:
      From this prison here of horror, whence I every hour tend nearer and nearer to destruction, I send you . . . the assurance of my dolorous and unhappy service.
    • 1922, Michael Arlen, “3/2/1”, in “Piracy”: A Romantic Chronicle of These Days[1]:
      She turned and waved a hand to him, she cried a word, but he didn't hear it, it was a lost word. A sable wraith she was in the parkland, fading away into the dolorous crypt of winter.
    • 2001 June 24, Stefan Kanfer, “Author, Teacher, Witness”, in Time:
      As World War II came to a close, the gaunt and dolorous child was liberated at yet another death camp, Buchenwald.