Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


As the train started he swung himself off with a sad little "Be good to yourself!"

Those found were in a sad state for want of water, and there was not a moment to lose.

I was oppressed, grieved, sickened, at the sad presentation of humanity.

Their interviews were first blissful, then anxious, then sad, then stormy.

"I couldn't be sad for long with you about, Emma," she said affectionately.

She had remembered him because of the sad mustaches, that morning, and his big voice.

But to think of living with and living for a man one abhors, what a sad thing is that!

If mine is sad, I shall but look the gayer for the contrast.

It's sad—sad to go through so much pain and then to have a dead baby.

The dog, lying by his side, seemed to look at me with sad, imploring eyes.


Old English sæd "sated, full, having had one's fill (of food, drink, fighting, etc.), weary of," from Proto-Germanic *sathaz (cf. Old Norse saðr, Middle Dutch sat, Dutch zad, Old High German sat, German satt, Gothic saþs "satiated, sated, full"), from PIE *seto- (cf. Latin satis "enough, sufficient," Greek hadros "thick, bulky," Old Church Slavonic sytu, Lithuanian sotus "satiated," Old Irish saith "satiety," sathach "sated"), from root *sa- "to satisfy" (cf. Sanskrit a-sinvan "insatiable").

Sense development passed through the meaning "heavy, ponderous" (i.e. "full" mentally or physically), and "weary, tired of" before emerging c.1300 as "unhappy." An alternative course would be through the common Middle English sense of "steadfast, firmly established, fixed" (e.g. sad-ware "tough pewter vessels") and "serious" to "grave." In the main modern sense, it replaced Old English unrot, negative of rot "cheerful, glad."

Meaning "very bad" is from 1690s. Slang sense of "inferior, pathetic" is from 1899; sad sack is 1920s, popularized by World War II armed forces (specifically by cartoon character invented by Sgt. George Baker, 1942, and published in U.S. Armed Forces magazine "Yank"), probably a euphemistic shortening of common military slang phrase sad sack of shit.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.