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See also: misérable



Borrowing from Middle French miserable, from Old French, from Latin miserabilis.



miserable (comparative miserabler or more miserable, superlative miserablest or most miserable)

  1. In a state of misery: very sad, ill, or poor.
    • 1915, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger, chapter I:
      Thanks to that penny he had just spent so recklessly [on a newspaper] he would pass a happy hour, taken, for once, out of his anxious, despondent, miserable self. It irritated him shrewdly to know that these moments of respite from carking care would not be shared with his poor wife, with careworn, troubled Ellen.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      With some of it on the south and more of it on the north of the great main thoroughfare that connects Aldgate and the East India Docks, St. Bede's at this period of its history was perhaps the poorest and most miserable parish in the East End of London.
    • (Can we date this quote?) George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)
      The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure is occupation.
  2. Very bad (at something); unskilled, incompetent.
    He's good at some sports, like tennis, but he's just miserable at football.
  3. Wretched; worthless; mean.
    a miserable sinner
  4. (obsolete) Causing unhappiness or misery.
  5. (obsolete) Avaricious; niggardly; miserly.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Hooker to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nouns to which "miserable" is often applied: life, condition, state, situation, day, time, creature, person, child, failure, place, world, season, year, week, experience, feeling, work, town, city, wage, job, case, excuse, dog.


Derived terms[edit]



miserable (plural miserables)

  1. A miserable person; a wretch.
    • 1838, The Foreign Quarterly Review (volume 21, page 181)
      Dona Carmen repaired to the balcony to chat and jest with, and at, these miserables, who stopped before the door to rest in their progress. All pretended poverty while literally groaning under the weight of their riches.
    • 2003, Richard C. Trexler, Reliving Golgotha: The Passion Play of Iztapalapa (pages 46-47)
      The charge that those who played Jesus in these representations were treated badly by the plays' Jews and Romans left one commissioner cold: in his view, these miserables were beaten much less severely by the players than they were by their actual lords or curacas.



From Latin miserabilis.


miserable m, f (masculine and feminine plural miserables)

  1. miserable



From Latin miserabilis.


miserable m, f (plural miserables)

  1. miserable
  2. poor
  3. greedy, stingy

Related terms[edit]