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English definition of “sorry”

sorry

adjective uk   /ˈsɒr.i/ us    /ˈsɔːr-/

sorry adjective (SAD)

A2 [after verb] feeling sadness, sympathy, or disappointment, especially because something unpleasant has happened or been done: I'm just sorry about all the trouble I've caused her. He'd really upset her and he didn't seem at all sorry. [+ (that)] I'm sorry (that) you had such a difficult journey. [+ to infinitive] We were both sorry to hear you've been ill again. I feel so sorry for the children - it must be really hard for them. feel sorry for yourself disapproving to feel sad because you have a problem and you feel that it is not fair that you are suffering so much: He sounded very sorry for himself on the phone. I'm sorry to say used to show that something that must be said causes sadness or disappointment: I'm sorry to say that the project's funding has been cancelled. Most people who start the course do, I'm sorry to say, give up within the first two weeks.

sorry adjective (APOLOGY)

A1 [after verb] used to say that you wish you had not done what you have done, especially when you want to be polite to someone you have done something bad to: Oh, I'm sorry - I didn't see you there. Tom, I'm so sorry about last night - it was all my fault. I've said I'm sorry.

sorry adjective (SAYING NO)

I'm sorry B2 used to show politeness when refusing something or disagreeing: I'm sorry but I think you've made a mistake. I'm sorry, I can't agree.

sorry adjective (BAD CONDITION)

sorry sight/state/tale a bad condition or situation: He was a sorry sight when he got home - soaking and covered in mud. It's a sorry state of affairs when there isn't any food in the house.

sorry

exclamation uk   /ˈsɒr.i/ us    /ˈsɔːr-/

sorry exclamation (APOLOGY)

used when apologizing for something: "That's my foot you're treading on." "Sorry!"

sorry exclamation (POLITE NEGATIVE)

used to show politeness when refusing something or disagreeing: Sorry, you can't go in there. mainly UK used when politely asking someone to repeat something or when politely interrupting someone: "He's late." "Sorry?" "I said he's late." Sorry, could you just say that last sentence again please?
(Definition of sorry from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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