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[ri-gret-fuh l] /rɪˈgrɛt fəl/
full of regret; sorrowful because of what is lost, gone, or done.
Origin of regretful
1640-50; regret + -ful
Related forms
regretfully, adverb
regretfulness, noun
unregretful, adjective
unregretfully, adverb
unregretfulness, noun
Can be confused
regretful, regrettable.
regretfully, regrettably. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for regretful
Historical Examples
  • There is a regretful ring in his tone that induces Geoffrey to ask the next question.

    Mrs. Geoffrey Duchess
  • The handsome Cardinal was suave, courtly, regretful, but firm.

  • She came quickly to him without speaking, and gave him her regretful answer silently.

    The Indifference of Juliet Grace S. Richmond
  • “That is quite true,” agreed the other, with a regretful sigh.

    The Bondwoman Marah Ellis Ryan
  • She might have married anybody, such a girl as that, continued Mr. Penrose, in a regretful business way.

    Madonna Mary Mrs. Oliphant
  • "That is most unfortunate," replied the Count, in a regretful tone.

  • Everything was bright for Kate, and she could afford a regretful thought to poor Hayes.

  • Bela let him have it with a regretful look at the thick, bright hair.

    The Huntress Hulbert Footner
  • "You're certainly bald," said Mrs. Hilary, with regretful candor.

    Dolly Dialogues Anthony Hope
  • "But I weary thee," he said, suddenly, as if regretful of the time he had wasted.

Word Origin and History for regretful

1640s, "full of regret," from regret + -ful. Regretfully, properly "with regret," incorrectly used in place of regrettably "it is to be regretted that; calling for regret" since at least 1965. "A regrettable use, prob. after HOPEFULLY adv.2" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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