Definition of tragic in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtrajik/


1Causing or characterized by extreme distress or sorrow: the shooting was a tragic accident
More example sentences
  • Everyone at the school is extremely shaken and saddened by the tragic accident.
  • It was a tragic accident, but accidents happen in demolition all the time.
  • Three more people died on local roads in the past week in two tragic accidents
disastrous, calamitous, catastrophic, cataclysmic, devastating, terrible, dreadful, awful, appalling, dismal, horrendous;
fatal, deadly, mortal, lethal
regrettable, shameful, terrible, horrible, awful, deplorable, lamentable, piteous, dreadful, grievous
1.1Suffering extreme distress or sorrow: the tragic parents reached the end of their tether
More example sentences
  • The agony goes on for the parents of the tragic four-year-old as doctors remain baffled as to how he died.
  • The tragic lives of parents are never a reason to repeat the tragedy upon their children.
  • The parents of tragic Robbie are celebrating the birth of a baby daughter.
1.2 informal Very bad or inadeqate: on the other hand, I like degenerate, tragic food she wears tragic cardigans, usually done up the wrong way
More example sentences
  • Oh, but the 1980s were tragic, weren't they?
  • The last film I watched: this is tragic - embarrassing - I didn't mean to but I actually got hooked up in the movie channel yesterday daytime.
  • I don't like sport, but partaking in an empty bout of national whooping and cheering simply for the sake of it would be utterly tragic.
2Relating to tragedy in a literary work.
Example sentences
  • The Play of King Lear is a great tragic play that many tragedies try to compare to.
  • Then again, it's a theme of war films to make tragedies all the more tragic, isn't it?
  • He was the icon in an era of icons, but like Shakespeare's tragic heroes his fatal flaws cut short a certain glittering career.



Example sentences
  • In Chapter Six, Johnny meets Belladonna and loses her again, in tragical circumstances.
  • One of the things which I've learned from it all, from this - it's amazing how some - such a tragical experience can bring so much love and so much - can teach you so much.
  • In this sense, Shylock is a tragical figure instead of a comical one, because he has to make a difficult decision, either result of which will hurt himself.


Mid 16th century: from French tragique, via Latin from Greek tragikos, from tragos 'goat', but associated with tragōidia (see tragedy).

Words that rhyme with tragic

bathypelagic, magic

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: trag·ic

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.