Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Filled with or expressing grief; mournful. See Synonyms at sad.
  • adj. Causing grief: a doleful loss.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. griefful, mournful, bringing feelings of sadness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of dole or grief; expressing or exciting sorrow; sorrowful; sad; dismal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Full of dole or grief; sorrowful.
  • Expressing or causing grief; of a mournful or dismal character; gloomy: as, a doleful whine; a doleful cry.
  • Crafty; cunning; wily.
  • Synonyms and Mournful, woeful, rueful, lugubrious, dolorous, piteous, cheerless.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. filled with or evoking sadness

Etymologies

dole +‎ -ful (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The tearful family followed her into the house and sat in doleful silence watching the big drops that began to beat on the western window.

    The Second Chance

  • 'When one's at home,' Fatima continued, in doleful tones, 'one doesn't feel it, because one sees nobody; but when one goes among other people, it is wretched not to have plenty of money and things.

    Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances

  • These voices do but echo to the voice of the Lord, who is now rendering a recompence to his enemies; and those that will not hear him speaking this terror shall hear them returning the alarms of it in doleful shrieks.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • Some fear it was a cry, not of true repentance, but of bitter complaint; their heart was as full of grief as it could hold, and they gave vent to it in doleful shrieks and outcries, in which they made use of God's name; yet we will charitably suppose that many of them did in sincerity cry unto God for mercy in their distress; and the prophet bids them go on to do so: O wall of the daughter of

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • "Helen," called a doleful voice from the sitting-room.

    The Tangled Threads

  • Now therefore let all the wicked men be far from thence (Ezra 6: 6): The Lord gather these waters, which in another place are called the doleful creatures, and birds of prey; Let these, O Lord, be gathered together to their own places, and be settled in the land of Shinar upon their own base (Zech 5: 11): Then the wilderness and the solitary places shall be glad for them; that is, for that they are departed thence, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose (Isa 34 and 35).

    Works of John Bunyan — Volume 02

  • It adopts the journey conceit, the episodic structure, and adds an element of explicit comedy that exceeds even the kind of doleful humor to be found in Don Quixote.

    Narrative Strategies

  • "Ah," said his wife, shaking her head in a kind of doleful triumph,

    Aunt Rachel

  • She had a kind of doleful elegance, tried to be confidential, lowered her voice and looked as if she wished to establish a secret understanding, in order to ask her visitor if she would venture on an apple-fritter.

    The Bostonians, Vol. I (of II)

  • She did, indeed, look "doleful," as Pauline expressed it, and the beaming, lovely face of the latter rendered her wan aspect more apparent.

    Beulah

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.