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[woh-bi-gawn, -gon] /ˈwoʊ bɪˌgɔn, -ˌgɒn/
beset with woe; affected by woe, especially in appearance.
showing or indicating woe:
He always had a woebegone look on his face.
Origin of woebegone
1300-50; Middle English wo begon orig., woe (has or had) surrounded (someone); wo woe + begon, past participle of begon, Old English begān to surround, besiege (see be-, go1)
Related forms
woebegoneness, noun
2. suffering, troubled, forlorn, gloomy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for woebegone
  • Redemption for the poem's woebegone mariner comes when he embraces all life, no matter how lowly.
  • Reasons and results couldn't be worse than the woebegone state of expression to which human discord has devolved.
  • woebegone wooden houses, many of them falling down, dot the hillsides along the road.
  • The subtle and admittedly woebegone have been replaced by the dynamic and aggressive.
  • Search the world through and a more desolate, woebegone.
British Dictionary definitions for woebegone


sorrowful or sad in appearance
(archaic) afflicted with woe
Word Origin
C14: from a phrase such as me is wo begon woe has beset me
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 woebegone

c.1300, in me is wo bigone "woe has beset me," from woe + begon "to beset, surround."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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