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[dohl-fuh l] /ˈdoʊl fəl/
sorrowful; mournful; melancholy:
a doleful look on her face.
Origin of doleful
1225-75; Middle English dol-ful. See dole2, -ful
Related forms
dolefully, adverb
dolefulness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dolefully
Historical Examples
  • After a long silence Dickey dolefully asked: "Say, do you believe the Saxondales turned me down on that shooting box party?"

    Castle Craneycrow George Barr McCutcheon
  • "It's worse than the Professor's fit last year," she said dolefully.

    The Green Carnation Robert Smythe Hichens
  • "Poor Dimitri," she said, dolefully, after her husband had recounted the events of the day.

    Rabbi and Priest Milton Goldsmith
  • "It's all very well for you to be pleased, Lolla," I said dolefully.

  • "It has turned out a deal worse job than I expected," dolefully observed the steward.

  • The culprit was hauled, incontinently, dolefully wailing, to bed.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • dolefully, with hanging head and downcast eyes, I made the dread announcement.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • “That is about what I will do next,” said Elizabeth dolefully.

  • "Look at me," she said once when he had dolefully commented upon the possibility of change.

    The "Genius" Theodore Dreiser
  • "Oh, I'll be all right, thanks," responded the other dolefully.

    Left Guard Gilbert Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for dolefully


dreary; mournful Archaic word dolesome (ˈdəʊlsəm)
Derived Forms
dolefully, adverb
dolefulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dolefully



late 13c., with -ful, from Middle English dole "grief" (early 13c.), from Old French doel (Modern French deuil), from Late Latin dolus "grief," from Latin dolere "suffer, grieve." Related: Dolefully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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