Share this entry

Share this page

miserable

Syllabification: mis·er·a·ble
Pronunciation: /ˈmiz(ə)rəb(ə)l
 
/

Definition of miserable in English:

adjective

1(Of a person) wretchedly unhappy or uncomfortable: their happiness made Anne feel even more miserable
More example sentences
  • They go in with their boyfriends and they're miserable, uncomfortable and they just want to go.
  • It's no different when someone is miserable and depressed.
  • So he'd helped his miserable friend console his woe begotten soul with some more hard liquor until he'd passed out.
Synonyms
1.1(Of a situation or environment) causing someone to feel wretchedly unhappy or uncomfortable: horribly wet and miserable conditions
More example sentences
  • In general it was a day for the hardiest of souls as combination of biting cold and persistent flurries of rain made conditions thoroughly miserable for spectators and players alive.
  • Illegal workers have to accept terribly low wages, miserable working conditions, and essentially no benefits.
  • Their social and economic conditions were made miserable.
Synonyms
dreary, dismal, gloomy, drab, wretched, depressing, grim, cheerless, bleak, desolate;
poor, shabby, squalid, seedy, dilapidated
informal flea-bitten, skeevy
unpleasant, disagreeable, depressing;
wet, rainy, stormy
informal rotten
1.2(Of a person) habitually morose: a miserable man in his late sixties
More example sentences
  • He was miserable and moody, frustrated and just plain rude, insulting anyone who gave him the slightest reason.
  • Paunchy, miserable, humourless, he'd be dour if he weren't too depressed to summon up the energy.
  • Jack's right hand man is a miserable bad tempered individual with several years of service behind him.
Synonyms
grumpy, sullen, gloomy, bad-tempered, ill-tempered, ill-natured, dour, surly, sour, glum, moody, unsociable, saturnine, lugubrious, irritable, churlish, cantankerous, crotchety, cross, crabby, cranky, grouchy, testy, peevish, crusty, waspish
2Pitiably small or inadequate: all they pay me is a miserable $10,000 a year
More example sentences
  • March's trade deficit came in at a miserable but slightly less-than-expected $31.6 billion.
  • Twenty years ago, school districts delivered miserable services to poor and minority families with no sanction.
  • Their one-day cricket last term was nothing short of miserable.
Synonyms
informal measly, stingy, pathetic
formal exiguous
2.1 [attributive] Contemptible (used as a term of abuse or for emphasis): you miserable old creep!
More example sentences
  • I think they'd say I was a miserable moany old git at the best of times.
  • I happen to know that miserable wretch intimately, as I stare at him each morning in the mirror.
  • If not, they are miserable wretches who are capitalising on people's misery.
Synonyms
informal blithering, blessed, damned, blasted
dated accursed

Origin

late Middle English: from French misérable, from Latin miserabilis 'pitiable', from miserari 'to pity', from miser 'wretched'.

Derivatives

miserableness

1
noun
Example sentences
  • It's absurd things like that that balance the movie off its pain-film miserableness; this is a really funny movie, despite the constant stream of tragedy, loss, degradation and soul-shattering identity crisis its characters undergo.
  • But in an incredible marketing feat the Scottish Tourist Board and Scottish Screen are now advertising the sheer miserableness of Scotland in a bid to attract film crews and tourists.
  • The way the English deal with their current law - and how they enforce closing time by bellowing at poor drinkers - smacks of a mean streak of miserableness.

miserably

2
adverb
Example sentences
  • Which is how I ended up squatting miserably under a solitary umbrella pine, waiting for the helicopter.
  • The older generation of our country failed miserably in guiding and leading the younger ones.
  • Its people have suffered miserably over many, many years - quite unjustifiably.

Definition of miserable in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtərpsikəˈrēən
adjective
of or relating to dancing