Definition of miserable in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɪz(ə)rəb(ə)l/


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.
unhappy, sad, sorrowful, dejected, depressed, downcast, downhearted, down, despondent, despairing, disconsolate, out of sorts, desolate, bowed down, wretched, glum, gloomy, dismal, blue, melancholy, melancholic, low-spirited, mournful, woeful, woebegone, doleful, forlorn, crestfallen, broken-hearted, heartbroken, inconsolable, luckless, grief-stricken
informal down in the mouth, down in the dumps
1.1Causing unhappiness or discomfort: 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.
dreary, dismal, dark, gloomy, drab, sombre, wretched, depressing, grim, cheerless, godforsaken, bleak, desolate, joyless, uninviting, discouraging, disheartening, unpromising, hopeless, dire, pathetic, tragic, distressing, grievous;
mean, poor, shabby, squalid, filthy, foul, sordid, seedy, dilapidated
unpleasant, disagreeable, displeasing, depressing, uncomfortable;
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.
grumpy, sullen, sulky, gloomy, bad-tempered, ill-tempered, in a bad mood, dour, surly, sour, glum, moody, unsmiling, humourless, uncommunicative, taciturn, unresponsive, unsociable, scowling, glowering, ill-humoured, sombre, sober, saturnine, pessimistic, lugubrious, dismal, irritable, churlish, cantankerous, crotchety, cross, crabbed, crabby, grouchy, testy, snappish, peevish, crusty, waspish
Northern English informal mardy
informal, dated mumpish
2Pitiably small or inadequate: all they pay me is a miserable £8,000 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.
inadequate, meagre, scanty, scant, paltry, limited, restricted, insufficient, deficient, negligible, insubstantial, skimpy, short, little, lean, small, slight, slender, poor, lamentable, pitiful, puny, niggardly, beggarly
informal measly, stingy, lousy, pathetic, piddling
rare exiguous
2.1Australian /NZ & Scottish Miserly: a lousy dollar a day — could any government be more miserable?
More example sentences
  • Not that he ever cooks for journalists, the miserable old codger.
3 [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.
wretched, contemptible, despicable, confounded
informal blithering, flaming, footling, infernal, damned, cursed, accursed



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.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mis¦er|able

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