Meaning of “tragic” in the English Dictionary

"tragic" in British English

See all translations

tragicadjective

uk /ˈtrædʒ.ɪk/ us /ˈtrædʒ.ɪk/

B2 very sad, often involving death and suffering:

His friends were deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news of his death.
The bomb explosion resulted in a tragic loss of life.
Hospital authorities admitted that a tragic mistake/error had been made.
It is tragic that the theatre has had to close.

belonging or relating to literature about death or suffering:

During his acting career, he has played all Shakespeare's great tragic heroes.

More examples

  • The play closed with the tragic death of both hero and heroine.
  • He is a tragic victim of destiny.
  • It is the height of folly and a tragic waste to gallop into war.
  • There is a lesson for all parents in this tragic accident.
  • She was witness to the tragic event.
tragically
adverb uk /ˈtrædʒ.ɪ.kəl.i/ us /ˈtrædʒ.ɪ.kəl.i/

C2

She died tragically young.
Tragically, the side-effects of the drug were not discovered until many people had been seriously damaged by it.

(Definition of “tragic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"tragic" in American English

See all translations

tragicadjective

us /ˈtrædʒ·ɪk/

very sad because connected with death and suffering:

Two men lost their lives in a tragic accident.

In the theater, tragic means having to do with a tragedy (= type of play having a sad ending):

a tragic actor
tragically
adverb us /ˈtrædʒ·ɪ·kli/

Tragically, the side effects of the drug were not discovered until many people had been seriously hurt by it.

(Definition of “tragic” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)