Definitions

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

  • n. The state of suffering and want as a result of physical circumstances or extreme poverty.
  • n. Mental or emotional unhappiness or distress: "Our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances” ( Martha Washington).
  • n. A cause or source of suffering.
  • n. Informal A physical ache or ailment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Great unhappiness; extreme pain of body or mind; wretchedness; distress; woe.
  • n. Cause of misery; calamity; misfortune.
  • n. poverty
  • n. Covetousness; niggardliness; avarice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Great unhappiness; extreme pain of body or mind; wretchedness; distress; woe.
  • n. Cause of misery; calamity; misfortune.
  • n. Covetousness; niggardliness; avarice.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A state of grievous affliction or unhappiness; mental or physical suffering; wretchedness.
  • n. Any afflictive or depressed condition; want of the means of livelihood; destitution: as, the burning of the factory caused much misery among the poor.
  • n. A seated pain or ache; an acute local ailment: as, to have a misery in the teeth, or a misery in the side or back.
  • n. That which makes miserable; a cause or source of affliction; misfortune; calamity: generally in the plural.
  • n. Miserliness; penuriousness.
  • n. Synonyms Affliction, Grief, Sorrow, etc. See affliction.
  • n. See misére.

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

  • n. a state of ill-being due to affliction or misfortune
  • n. a feeling of intense unhappiness

Etymologies

Middle English miserie, from Old French, from Latin miseria, from miser, wretched.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French miserie (modern: misère), from Latin miseria, from miser. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Living in misery is no solution even McCain has moved on. —

    A Quiet Obama Puppeteer - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

  • This was very barbarous and inhuman; even an enemy, in misery, is to be pitied and not trampled upon.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume III (Job to Song of Solomon)

  • And don't rule out that your misery is your girlfriend herself.

    Carolyn Hax: Divorced dad is torn over move to be with girlfriend

  • The fact that under those conditions more than 10%, much less 45%, are willing to vote for the guy who has the same positions that got us into this misery is a testimony to the media's failure in analyzing policy rather than covering elections as sports matches.

    More than three-quarters rate economic conditions poor

  • But much of the Northern Virginia misery is the result of Virginia STATE government — power has been tightly concentrated in Richmond since at least the Byrd Machine and Richmond thinks Northern Virginia is a cash cow whose taxes should go to build roads elsewhere in the state.

    Matthew Yglesias » Taxes: Still the Best Bet

  • As Katrina proved, their poverty makes them a public safety hazard, a health hazard, and a crime hazard to ALL of us — not to mention the fact that their misery is a shame unto us all.

    Think Progress » VIDEO: Oprah Tackles Minimum Wage Crisis

  • Both knew that Lord Denno was not happy about their sojourns at court and wished to put off as long as possible any mention of the approach of what he called his misery of loneliness.

    Ill Met By Moonlight

  • Still ahead here, Senator Kerry measures what he calls the misery of the middle class.

    CNN Transcript Apr 12, 2004

  • He saw what he called the misery of peace, unless the utmost vigilance and prudence were exerted; and he expressed, in bitter terms, his proper indignation at the manner in which the mob of London welcomed the French general who brought the ratification saying, "that they made him ashamed of his country."

    The Life of Horatio Lord Nelson

  • The pride of the poor people is infinitely great, and exceeded by nothing but their poverty, in some parts, which adds to that which I call their misery; and I must needs think the savages of America live much more happy than the poorer sort of these, because as they have nothing, so they desire nothing; whereas these are proud and insolent and in the main are in many parts mere beggars and drudges.

    The Further Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe

Comments

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  • "They say misery loves company
    We could start a factory
    And make misery
    Frustrated Incorporated
    I know just what you need
    I might just have the thing
    I know what you'd pay to see

    Put me out of my misery
    I'd do it for you, would you do it for me?
    We will always be busy, making misery"

    August 29, 2008