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[woh-fuh l] /ˈwoʊ fəl/
full of woe; wretched; unhappy:
a woeful situation.
affected with, characterized by, or indicating woe:
woeful melodies.
of wretched quality; sorry; poor:
a woeful collection of paintings.
Also, woful.
Origin of woeful
1250-1300; Middle English; see woe, -ful
Related forms
woefully, adverb
woefulness, noun
unwoeful, adjective
unwoefully, adverb
unwoefulness, noun
3. unpromising, unlikely, dreadful, awful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for woefully
  • Not only are they often misshapen and woefully out of date, but many have been in a state of disrepair for years.
  • As he explained it, the actual retrieval process would be woefully slow and probably inaccurate.
  • The new team, though woefully inept, was the talk of the town.
  • But to a casual visitor the benefits of medical technology seemed woefully uneven.
  • But state licensing boards are woefully underfunded and generally ineffective.
  • But that will not possible to the degree needed so long as community college funding remains woefully inadequate.
  • They are woefully underfunded and often have little actual authority.
  • The solution is not merely to improve the woefully inadequate mental health treatment of prisoners.
  • Your post is woefully incomplete and lacking support by reliable sources.
  • They can, the fact that you underestimate them so woefully, is proof positive of how little you understand the situation.
British Dictionary definitions for woefully


expressing or characterized by sorrow
bringing or causing woe
pitiful; miserable: a woeful standard of work
Derived Forms
woefully, adverb
woefulness, 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 woefully



c.1300, "afflicted with sorrow," from woe + -ful. Weakened sense of "very bad" recorded by 1610s. Related: Woefully; woefulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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