sad sack

From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: sadsack


English Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms




US 1920s. Popularized by Sad Sack, a cartoon character and eponymous comic strip published originally June 1942 in Yank, the Army Weekly, a US Army publication for soldiers, and later syndicated in the US 1940s and 1950s. Presumably from vulgar “sad sack of shit” as cartoonist Sgt. George Baker said he took it from a “longer phrase, of a derogatory nature”. The term originally referred to a well-meaning but inept soldier.[1]





sad sack (plural sad sacks) (chiefly US)

  1. An incompetent or inept person.
  2. A perennial failure or victim of misfortune.
    Synonyms: defeatist, loser
    • 2010 July 26, Michiko Kakutani, “Love Found Amid Ruins of Empire”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      “Super Sad” takes as its Romeo and Juliet, its Tristan and Iseult, a middle-aged sad sack named Lenny Abramov and a much younger beauty named Eunice Park.
    • 2013 April 27, “Movie capsules: Arthur Newman”, in Boston Globe, retrieved 5 April 2015:
      Weary of his drab life with its nowhere job, failed marriage, boring girlfriend, and estranged teenage son, a middle-aged sad sack fakes his death, changes his identity, and hits the road.
    • 2014 March 29, Zach Schonfeld, “Film Review: Jason Schwartzman Is Charmingly Inept in 7 Chinese Brothers”, in Newsweek, retrieved 5 April 2015:
      We meet him as he's on his way out, taking the news with equal parts tantrum and sad-sack acceptance.
    • 2024 May 20, Alissa Wilkinson, “What We Lose When ChatGPT Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      So Samantha, the A.I. assistant with whom the sad-sack divorcé Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) fell in love in “Her,” felt like a futuristic revelation.

See also



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “sad”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further reading