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Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old English wāwa, a variant of wēa, from Proto-Germanic *waiwô (hence a doublet of we (woe)).



wowe (plural wowes)

  1. Woe, discomfort; a state of intense depression and sorrowfulness.
  2. A lack of luck or fortuitousness; bad fortune.
  3. A unlucky or unfortunate event; something that feels negative.
  4. Injury, painfulness; the result of physical harming.
  5. (rare) upsetness, unhappiness.

Usage notes[edit]

This word would have come to sound the same as woe in the Early Modern English period and was probably conflated with it.