Definition of regretfully in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈɡrɛtfəli/


1In a regretful manner: he sighed regretfully
More example sentences
  • She sighed regretfully and walked to her assigned desk.
  • Nicholas sighed regretfully; he hadn't meant to lose his temper like that.
  • She sighed, and regretfully disentangled herself from Steve, who looked puzzled.
1.1 [sentence adverb] It is regrettable that: regretfully, mounting costs forced the branch to close
More example sentences
  • (I hear that no one is turned away except, regretfully, one quite hefty character in a swirling kilt - but that's another story).
  • But regretfully, we will not be catering to that audience because it's really a niche.
  • In the end, regretfully, I chose none of them, preferring instead two books I read quite frequently, one for its astonishing use of language and the other for the haunting quietude of its tale.


The adjectives regretful and regrettable are distinct in meaning: regretful means ‘feeling or showing regret’, as in she shook her head with a regretful smile, while regrettable means ‘giving rise to regret; undesirable’, as in the loss of jobs is regrettable. The adverbs regretfully and regrettably have not, however, preserved the same distinction. Regretfully is used as a normal adverb to mean ‘in a regretful manner’ ( he sighed regretfully), but it is also used as a sentence adverb meaning ‘it is regrettable that’ ( regretfully, mounting costs forced the branch to close). In this latter use it is synonymous with regrettably. This is disliked by traditionalists and should be avoided in formal contexts.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re¦gret|ful¦ly

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