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From Middle English sadly; equivalent to sad +‎ -ly.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsædli/
  • (file)


sadly (comparative sadlier or more sadly, superlative sadliest or most sadly)

  1. In a sad manner; sorrowfully.
    “Only when we climb up can we see it,” he said sadly.
  2. Unfortunately, sad to say.
    If you think you’re getting out of this place alive, you are sadly mistaken, my friend.
    Sadly, the two were never to meet again.
    • 2012 April 15, Phil McNulty, “Tottenham 1-5 Chelsea”, in BBC:
      Before kick-off, a section of Chelsea's support sadly let themselves and their club down by noisily interrupting the silence held in memory of the Hillsborough disaster and for Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, who collapsed and died after suffering a heart attack during a Serie B game on Saturday.
  3. (dated) Very much (of a desire etc.); dearly; urgently.
    • 1859, Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White:
      "Don't ask me: don't make me talk of it," she answered. "I'm not fit now. I have been cruelly used and cruelly wronged. You will be kinder than ever, if you will walk on fast, and not speak to me. I sadly want to quiet myself, if I can."
  4. (obsolete) Deeply, completely.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, “iiij”, in Le Morte Darthur, book VI:
      By my feythe sayd syre launcelot in that pauelione wil I lodge alle this nyghte / and soo there he alyghte doune and tayed his hors to the pauelione / and there he vnarmed hym / and there he fond a bedde / and layd hym theryn / and felle on slepe sadly
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)

Usage notes[edit]

In sense of “unfortunately”, most often used either in the collocation “sadly mistaken” or as a sentence adverb. See discussion of sentence modifiers at hopefully and regretfully.


Derived terms[edit]



Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From sad +‎ -ly (adverbial suffix).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsadliː/, /ˈsaːdliː/, /-it͡ʃ(ə)/



  1. totally, completely, deeply
  2. steadily, firmly (with stability):
    1. fixedly, steadfastly, undoubtedly
    2. carefully (with due effort or consideration)
    3. intensely, strongly (with vigour or force)
  3. solidly, closely (creating density)
  4. gravely (with seriousness)
  5. sadly, sorrowfully (with sorrow)


  • English: sadly
  • Scots: sadly