miserable (adj.)

early 15c., "full of misery, causing wretchedness" (of conditions), from Old French miserable (14c.) and directly from Latin miserabilis "pitiable, miserable, deplorable, lamentable," from miserari "to pity, lament, deplore," from miser "wretched" (see miser). Of persons, "existing in a state of want, suffering, wretchedness, etc.," it is attested from 1520s. Meaning "mentally full of misery, wretched in feeling unhappy," by 1590s. Related: Miserableness.

The sense associated with miser, "covetous, miserly," is attested from late 15c., but by 1895 (Century Dictionary) was "obsolete or Scotch." As a noun, "an unfortunate, an unhappy creature," 1530s (reinforced later by the French cognate, as in Hugo's "Les Misérables").

updated on January 29, 2019

Definitions of miserable from WordNet

miserable (adj.)
very unhappy; full of misery;
he felt depressed and miserable
Synonyms: suffering / wretched
miserable (adj.)
deserving or inciting pity; "the shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic"- Galsworthy;
miserable victims of war
Synonyms: hapless / misfortunate / pathetic / piteous / pitiable / pitiful / poor / wretched
miserable (adj.)
of the most contemptible kind;
his miserable treatment of his family
You miserable skunk!
Synonyms: abject / low / low-down / scummy / scurvy
miserable (adj.)
of very poor quality or condition;
miserable (adj.)
characterized by physical misery;
a wet miserable weekend
Synonyms: wretched
miserable (adj.)
contemptibly small in amount;
almost depleted his miserable store of dried beans
the company donated a miserable $100 for flood relief
Synonyms: measly / paltry
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