Woe Is Me Meaning: What Does this Useful Idiom Mean?

The phrase “woe is me” is an idiom that is used by certain people quite often. If you know the meaning of the word “woe,” you might think this means that someone is saying they are great sadness. However, this is not the case. Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and information about its origin so you can fully understand the phrase and how it is used. You can gain further understanding from the example sentences and conversations provided also. Lastly, you can take a look at some of the alternative words and phrases provided that are synonymous with this phrase and can be used to replace it in conversation.

Woe Is Me

Woe Is Me Meaning

The idiomatic phrase “woe is me” means an overstated expression of self-pity in a situation of sadness or disappointment that you are experiencing and want people to feel sorry for you.

Origin of this idiom

The phrase “woe is me” was first used in the Bible. It appears in the book of Job in the Old Testament. Shakespeare used it in his play Hamlet also, which was written in 1602. The phrase primarily gets its origin from the word “woe” meaning a great sadness or disappointment.” Adding “is me” to the phrase is telling people that you feel great sadness and disappointment and that they should feel pity for you because of it.

“Woe Is Me” Examples

Example Sentences

  • If it weren’t for bad luck, I would have no luck at all; woe is me.
  • Woe is me, trouble seems to follow me everywhere I go.
  • I’m cold and wet and I haven’t even got enough money for my bus fare home. Oh woe is me!

Example Conversations

A discussion between mother and daughter.

  • Daughter: I swear I hate life sometimes.
  • Mother: Maybe life would treat you better if you stopped the whole woe is me attitude.
  • Daughter: Maybe, but I doubt it.
  • Mother: That’s not a good start.

A discussion between two co-workers.

  • Co-worker 1: Is it just me or does Francesca always seem to want people to feel sorry for her?
  • Co-worker 2: No, it is not just you. She has had a woe is me attitude about her since she first started working here.

Alternatives to “Woe Is Me”

There are some words and phrases that you can use as a replacement for the idiomatic phrase “woe is me” in conversation. Some of the words or phrases you can use that are synonymous with this phrase include:

  • Dear me
  • Pity me
  • Poor, little old me

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