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From Middle English sorow, sorwe, from Old English sorh, sorg, from Proto-Germanic *surgō (compare West Frisian soarch, Dutch zorg, German Sorge, Danish sorg), from Proto-Indo-European *swergʰ- 'to watch over, worry' (compare Old Irish serg 'sickness', Tocharian B sark 'id.', Lithuanian sirgti ‘to be sick’, Sanskrit sū́rkṣati ‘he worries’).



sorrow ‎(countable and uncountable, plural sorrows)

  1. (uncountable) unhappiness, woe
    • Rambler
      The safe and general antidote against sorrow is employment.
  2. (countable) (usually in plural) An instance or cause of unhappiness.
    Parting is such sweet sorrow.



sorrow ‎(third-person singular simple present sorrows, present participle sorrowing, simple past and past participle sorrowed)

  1. (intransitive) To feel or express grief.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 424:
      Sorrow not, sir,’ says he, ‘like those without hope.’
  2. (transitive) To feel grief over; to mourn, regret.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.12:
      It is impossible to make a man naturally blind, to conceive that he seeth not; impossible to make him desire to see, and sorrow his defect.


  • sorrow” in Unabridged, v1.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • "sorrow" in WordNet 3.0, Princeton University, 2006.