Definition of woe in English:


Syllabification: woe


often humorous
1Great sorrow or distress: they had a complicated tale of woe
More example sentences
  • This is a woe I suffer from like no other, and cannot wait to be rid of it forever.
  • Even the judiciary adds to the woe by convicting the women for soliciting.
  • And to compound the woe, his father Thomas lost his battle with lung cancer.
1.1 (woes) Things that cause sorrow or distress; troubles: to add to his woes, customers have been spending less
More example sentences
  • And Pakistan will set England enough conundrums without added injury woes.
  • I want the extreme anti abortionist to understand the woes and difficulties.
  • His chances have been blighted by a catalogue of injury woes and financial difficulties.
trouble, difficulty, problem, trial, tribulation, misfortune, setback, reverse


natural exclamation of lament: recorded as in Old English and found in several Germanic languages.


woe betide someone (or woe to someone)

Used humorously to warn someone that they will be in trouble if they do a specified thing: woe betide anyone wearing the wrong color!
More example sentences
  • And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.
  • But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
  • At another Hotel in Dobrich we were given little slips of paper and woe betide you if you tried to get breakfast without them, not even sight of your room key was enough.

woe is me!

An ironical or humorous exclamation of sorrow or distress.
More example sentences
  • If there were compelling characters or breathtaking lines or an interesting plot, we might not have noticed or cared that the three central characters are essentially just moaning, ‘oh, woe is me!’
  • ‘Alas, it was the right hand of the Government that imposed confiscation upon me, and now its left hand has stolen my seashores - woe is me!’
  • Anyway, my heart yearned to be with you once again, and my soul was in never ending pain. ‘Oh woe is me!’

Definition of woe in:

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Word of the day retroflex
Pronunciation: ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)flɛks
turned backwards