Definition of tragedy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtradʒɪdi/

noun (plural tragedies)

1An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe: a tragedy that killed 95 people [mass noun]: his life had been plagued by tragedy
More example sentences
  • Any road accident that causes a death or serious injury is a tragedy.
  • The patients to undergo this new medical procedure have been seriously disfigured by burns, serious accidents or personal tragedies.
  • Terrible human tragedies and unimaginable suffering result from fatal accidents in farming each year.
disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm, devastation, misfortune, misadventure, mishap, reverse, vicissitude, setback, trial, tribulation, affliction, blight, injury, adversity, sad event, serious accident;
shock, blow;
pain, sorrow, misery, distress, agony, unhappiness, sadness, disappointment
informal bummer
2A play dealing with tragic events and having an unhappy ending, especially one concerning the downfall of the main character: Shakespeare’s tragedies
More example sentences
  • The Play of King Lear is a great tragic play that many tragedies try to compare to.
  • The characters in the tragedies of Sophocles resist all warnings and inescapably meet with disaster.
  • Comedies, tragedies, musicals and dramas make this a remarkably diverse theater season.
tragic drama, drama, play
literary buskin
2.1 [mass noun] The dramatic genre represented by tragedies: Greek tragedy Compare with comedy.
More example sentences
  • The representatives of tragedy and comedy chosen are not Greek but Roman.
  • In other words, shifting the format from theatrical tragedy to televisual sitcom.
  • In the various sessions, it ran up and down the scales from high drama to epic tragedy, from broad comedy to poignant romance.


Late Middle English: from Old French tragedie, via Latin from Greek tragōidia, apparently from tragos 'goat' (the reason remains unexplained) + ōidē 'song, ode'. Compare with tragic.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tra|gedy

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