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[sawr, sohr] /sɔr, soʊr/
adjective, sorer, sorest.
physically painful or sensitive, as a wound, hurt, or diseased part:
a sore arm.
suffering bodily pain from wounds, bruises, etc., as a person:
He is sore because of all that exercise.
suffering mental pain; grieved, distressed, or sorrowful:
to be sore at heart.
causing great mental pain, distress, or sorrow:
a sore bereavement.
causing very great suffering, misery, hardship, etc.:
sore need.
Informal. annoyed; irritated; offended; angered:
He was sore because he had to wait.
causing annoyance or irritation:
a sore subject.
a sore spot or place on the body.
a source or cause of grief, distress, irritation, etc.
Archaic. sorely.
Origin of sore
before 900; Middle English (adj., noun, and adv.); Old English sār; cognate with Dutch zeer, German sehr, Old Norse sārr
Related forms
soreness, noun
unsore, adjective
unsorely, adverb
unsoreness, noun
1. tender. 3. aggrieved, hurt, pained, vexed. 4. grievous, distressing, painful, depressing. 8. infection, abscess, ulcer, wound. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sorest
Historical Examples
  • For Walse told me that when my need was sorest then should the sword of deliverance and victory be near me.

    The Valkyries Edward Frederic Benson
  • When the heart is sick and sorest, There is balsam in the forest–– There is balsam in the forestFor its pain.

    Irish Fairy Tales Edmond Leamy
  • The former course would, it appeared to me, be a poor example of the moral courage which I hold to be Ireland's sorest need.

    Ireland In The New Century Horace Plunkett
  • In her efforts to placate him she had touched upon his sorest spot.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • It will help you in your sorest need, as it has helped me in mine.

    Armadale Wilkie Collins
  • You are contributing to perpetuate one of the sorest scourges of our world.

    Select Temperance Tracts American Tract Society
  • Into what community of merciful women could she be received, in her sorest need?

    The Evil Genius Wilkie Collins
  • "We'll see who can make the sorest blister," said the squire.

    Handy Andy, Volume One Samuel Lover
  • It has always been my sorest trouble, that we have never got on well together.

    A Girl of the Commune George Alfred Henty
  • But the third trouble was at that moment pressing the sorest.

    Robin Tremayne Emily Sarah Holt
British Dictionary definitions for sorest


(esp of a wound, injury, etc) painfully sensitive; tender
causing annoyance: a sore point
resentful; irked: he was sore that nobody believed him
urgent; pressing: in sore need
(postpositive) grieved; distressed
causing grief or sorrow
a painful or sensitive wound, injury, etc
any cause of distress or vexation
(archaic) direly; sorely (now only in such phrases as sore pressed, sore afraid)
Derived Forms
soreness, noun
Word Origin
Old English sār; related to Old Norse sārr, Old High German sēr, Gothic sair sore, Latin saevus angry
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 sorest



Old English sar "painful, grievous, aching, sad, wounding," influenced in meaning by Old Norse sarr "sore, wounded," from Proto-Germanic *saira- "suffering, sick, ill" (cf. Old Frisian sar "painful," Middle Dutch seer, Dutch zeer "sore, ache," Old High German ser "painful," Gothic sair "pain, sorrow, travail"), from PIE root *sai- (1) "suffering" (cf. Old Irish saeth "pain, sickness").

Adverbial use (e.g. sore afraid) is from Old English sare but has mostly died out (replaced by sorely), but remains the main meaning of German cognate sehr "very." Slang meaning "angry, irritated" is first recorded 1738.


Old English sar "bodily pain or injury, wound; sickness, disease; state of pain or suffering," from root of sore (adj.). Now restricted to ulcers, boils, blisters. Cf. Old Saxon ser "pain, wound," Middle Dutch seer, Dutch zeer, Old High German ser, Old Norse sar, Gothic sair.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sorest in Medicine

sore (sôr)
An open skin lesion, wound, or ulcer. adj.
Painful to the touch; tender.

sore'ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for sorest



A sophomore (1778+ University)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with sorest


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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