Definition of doleful in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdəʊlfʊl/
Pronunciation: /ˈdəʊlf(ə)l/


1Expressing sorrow; mournful: a doleful look
More example sentences
  • In one, a lifelike depiction of a young man with doleful, melancholy eyes lies within the still, tightly bound wrappings of the mummy.
  • Nicholas watched her with his doleful blue eyes as she walked away.
  • The old dilapidated building where the two women meet each other is made even more gloomy and doleful by an unexpected downpour.
1.1Causing grief or misfortune: he could be struck off, with doleful consequences
More example sentences
  • There can be no joy in war: it is always repulsive in actual detail, but if we are not left with the facts, then the world is deprived even of doleful experience of the battlefield.
  • Bureaucracy plays its usual doleful part in the process, of course.



Pronunciation: /ˈdəʊlfʊli/
Pronunciation: /ˈdəʊlf(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • Thus, in Die Walküre you feel something dolefully inevitable in the social restrictions on human will that allegorically require the break between the paternal god and his illegitimate warrior daughter.
  • We could throw around the words ‘reprehensible’ and ‘deplorable’ and dolefully express our great disappointment in his leadership.
  • We decide on a scorpion fish, a rich ruby red, its spiky fins laid harmlessly by its side, its wide round eye staring up at us dolefully.


Pronunciation: /ˈdəʊlfʊlnəs/
Pronunciation: /ˈdəʊlf(ə)lnəs/
Example sentences
  • Between them, her bright hair in a tumble down the flying tangerine dispersal of her cloak, the Magdalene prostrates herself like an alighted butterfly, the amber splendours of her hands outstretched in her dolefulness.
  • The tale has many tragic turns but he and his cast largely forego the high-minded dolefulness in favour of camp theatrics.
  • The widespread topiary is part of the national trend towards dolefulness in appearance and attitude.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dole|ful

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