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Word for the Wise September 11, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Grief, anguish, woe, and sorrow

Today we mark a somber anniversary: it's been five years since terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We've heard plenty of talk about grief and anguish over the past half-decade; today we look at the subtleties that distinguish grief, anguish, woe, and sorrow. (来源:专业英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

Sorrow is as old as English itself; its Old English ancestor was akin to an Old High German word for sorrow. The word sorrow is used for a deep distress, sadness, or regret, especially for the loss of someone or something loved. Woe is as old as sorrow; it is the word for deep or inconsolable misery induced by grief or anguish. Woe entered English as an interjection expressing grief, regret, or distress and had plenty of similar sounding linguistic kin in Old High German, Latin, Gothic, and Old Norse.

Anguish, which dates to the 13th century and which is used for excruciating or torturing grief or dread, has a Latin ancestor meaning "straits; narrowness; restraint." Finally there's grief. When the word grief (which has linguistic ancestry in Anglo-French words meaning "injustice; calamity; heavy; grievous") first appeared in English in the 15th century, it meant "the formal expression of a grievance." Nowadays, grief refers to poignant or extended sorrow.

 
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