Printable Version
Pronunciation: sah-ri Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective, interjection

Meaning: 1. Sorrowful, distressed; sympathetic; regretful, as 'sorry for your loss'. 2. Bad, inferior, without merit, wretched, deplorable, as 'sorry state of affairs'. 3. (Interjection) I apologize, forgive me, as "Sorry! I didn't mean it". 4. (Interjection) Would you repeat that? I didn't catch it, as "Sorry! Would you mind repeating that?"

Notes: This word has two seemingly unrelated meanings as an adjective (1. and 2. above). The adverb and noun, sorrily and sorriness, respectively, may be used in both senses. Notice the final Y, as always, converts to I before the suffixes.

In Play: In the first sense of the word, we hear things like this: "Jinx Harper wasn't at all sorry about putting the frog in the water cooler." In the second adjectival sense expect something like this: "Harvey Wallbanger was a sorry sight when he returned home from a night at the pub."

Word History: Today's Good Word is the long-lost adjective for sore, with no relation to sorrow. In Old English it was sarig "distressed, grieved" (mentally sore). The Old English word evolved from Proto-Germanic sairiga- "painful", source also of Swedish sårig "wounded", Danish sår "wound", and Dutch zeer "pain". Sairiga- is a suffixed form of PIE sai- "pain, illness", source also of Greek aimobia "toothache" with a -mo- suffix. Latin saevus "furious, savage" belongs here, too. (Lest we be sorry, let's now thank David Myer for seeing the interest in today's Good Word and sharing it with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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