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[sor-ee, sawr-ee] /ˈsɒr i, ˈsɔr i/
adjective, sorrier, sorriest.
feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.:
to be sorry to leave one's friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble.
regrettable or deplorable; unfortunate; tragic:
a sorry situation; to come to a sorry end.
sorrowful, grieved, or sad:
Was she sorry when her brother died?
associated with sorrow; suggestive of grief or suffering; melancholy; dismal.
wretched, poor, useless, or pitiful:
a sorry horse.
(used as a conventional apology or expression of regret):
Sorry, you're misinformed. Did I bump you? Sorry.
Origin of sorry
before 900; Middle English; Old English sārig; cognate with Low German sērig, Old High German sērag. See sore, -y1
Related forms
sorrily, adverb
sorriness, noun
unsorry, adjective
1. regretful, sympathetic, pitying. 3. unhappy, depressed, sorrowing. 4. grievous, mournful, painful. 5. abject, contemptible, paltry, worthless, shabby. See wretched.
1. happy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sorry
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One who is sorry she did it, but would undoubtedly do it again.

    A Book of Burlesques H. L. Mencken
  • Which was very ugly in me, and I cried afterwards and told her how sorry I was.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • He was sorry for the poor little maid who had aped the ways of the grown-up.

    The Children of Wilton Chase Mrs. L. T. Meade
  • "I am sorry you couldn't agree with Halbert Davis, Robert," she said, with a sigh.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • You're kind of soft around the stomach, Mr. Henderson, I'm sorry to say.

    The Man Next Door Emerson Hough
British Dictionary definitions for sorry


adjective -rier, -riest
(usually postpositive) often foll by for. feeling or expressing pity, sympathy, remorse, grief, or regret: I feel sorry for him
pitiful, wretched, or deplorable: a sorry sight
poor; paltry: a sorry excuse
affected by sorrow; sad
causing sorrow or sadness
an exclamation expressing apology, used esp at the time of the misdemeanour, offence, etc
Derived Forms
sorrily, adverb
sorriness, noun
Word Origin
Old English sārig; related to Old High German sērag; see sore
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 sorry

Old English sarig "distressed, grieved, full of sorrow" (not found in the physical sense of "sore"), from Proto-Germanic *sairiga- "painful" (cf. Old Saxon serag, Middle Dutch seerigh "sore; sad, sorry," Dutch zeerig "sore, full of sores," Old High German serag, Swedish sårig "sore, full of sores"), from *sairaz "pain" (physical and mental); related to *saira- "suffering, sick, ill" (see sore (adj.)). Meaning "wretched, worthless, poor" first recorded mid-13c. Spelling shift from -a- to -o- by influence of sorrow. Apologetic sense (short for I'm sorry) is attested from 1834; phrase sorry about that popularized 1960s by U.S. TV show "Get Smart." Related: Sorrily; sorriness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sorry

sore thumb

Related Terms

stick out

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 sorry
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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