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[mawrn-fuh l, mohrn-] /ˈmɔrn fəl, ˈmoʊrn-/
feeling or expressing sorrow or grief; sorrowful; sad.
of or pertaining to mourning for the dead.
causing grief or lament:
a mournful occasion.
gloomy, somber, or dreary, as in appearance or character:
mournful shadows.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English morneful. See mourn, -ful
Related forms
mournfully, adverb
mournfulness, noun
overmournful, adjective
overmournfully, adverb
overmournfulness, noun
unmournful, adjective
unmournfully, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mournful
  • He is the sole survivor, and was the only one left to communicate the mournful intelligence to the nearest settlement.
  • From beneath the boat, a sighing, almost mournful sound rises into the air.
  • The mournful undertone of this tale takes it far beyond the grasp of children.
  • Many in the audience may be tempted to join in this mournful chant.
  • Hence the expression, serious even to mournful, that shadowed his film-star-handsome face on the course.
  • Welch's range is not wide and her voice has a mournful, vernacular quality.
  • But then the creature's eyes dimmed, the music turned mournful, and it seemed pretty clear that a wrong had been done.
  • Side by side, they slowly ride, and their thunder is a mournful sound.
  • Their howling is described as haunting by some, mournful by others who have heard them in the wild.
  • He wore a haggard and mournful look except when he was drinking or playing on his flute.
British Dictionary definitions for mournful


evoking grief; sorrowful
gloomy; sad
Derived Forms
mournfully, adverb
mournfulness, 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 mournful

early 15c., from mourn + -ful. Related: Mournfully; mournfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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