1540s, "calamitous, disastrous, fatal" ("resembling the actions in a stage tragedy"), shortened from tragical (late 15c.), modeled on Latin tragicus, from Greek tragikos "of or pertaining to tragedy; stately, majestic; plaintive," literally "goatish, of or pertaining to a goat," and perhaps referring to a satyr impersonated by a goat singer or satyric actor, from tragodia (see tragedy). Tragic flaw (1913) translates Greek hamartia. Related: Tragically.
updated on February 13, 2014