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Borrowed from Latin lūgubris (mournful; gloomy), with the suffix -ious.


  • IPA(key): /ləˈɡ(j)uːbɹi.əs/
  • (file)


lugubrious (comparative more lugubrious, superlative most lugubrious)

  1. Gloomy, mournful or dismal, especially to an exaggerated degree.
    The poor lighting and sparse maintenance, plus the rarefied traffic on its wide boulevards, made the effect of Pyongyang on the tourist distinctly lugubrious.
    His client’s lugubrious expression tipped off the detective that something lurked beneath her optimistic words.
    • 1886, Thomas Hardy, chapter XIX, in The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Smith, Elder & Co., [], OCLC 881857478, page 242:
      The exaggeration with darkness imparted to the glooms of this region impressed Henchard more than he had expected. The lugubrious harmony of the spot with his domestic situation was too perfect for him, impatient of effects, scenes, and adumbrations.
    • 1899 Feb, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 203:
      There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of natives - he called them enemies! - hidden out of sight somewhere.
    • 1986, John le Carré, A Perfect Spy:
      The congregation was "spellbound unto the Meekest of its Members," and none more so than Rick himself, who sits in an enraptured trance, nodding his broad head to the cadences of Makepeace's rhetoric, even though every Welsh note of it — to the excited ears and eyes of those around him — is hurled at Rick personally down the length of the aisle, and rammed home with a botched stab of the lugubrious Watermaster forefinger.

Derived terms[edit]