Language: Old English
Origin: sarig, from sar ( SORE1); influenced by sorrow)


sor‧ry S1 W2 comparative sorrier, superlative sorriest

sorry/I'm sorry

a) used to tell someone that you wish you had not done something that has affected them badly, hurt them etc:
I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.
'Matt, stop doing that!' 'Sorry!'
I'm sorry, did I step on your foot?
sorry (that)
I'm sorry I'm late - the traffic was terrible.
sorry/I'm sorry about
Sorry about the mess - I'll clean it up.
sorry for (doing) something
I'm sorry for making such a fuss.
Sorry to bother you, but what was the address again?
see usage note excuse1
b) used as a polite way of introducing disappointing information or a piece of bad news:
I'm sorry, but all the flights to Athens are fully booked.
c) used when you have said something that is not correct, and want to say something that is correct:
Turn right - sorry left - at the traffic lights.
d) used when you refuse an offer or request:
'Are you coming to lunch?' 'Sorry, no. I've got to finish this work.'
'I'll give you $50 for it.' 'Sorry, no deal.'
e) used when you disagree with someone, or tell someone that they have done something wrong:
I'm sorry, but I find that very hard to believe, Miss Brannigan.


[not before noun] feeling ashamed or unhappy about something bad you have done
sorry for
She was genuinely sorry for what she had done.
sorry (that)
Casey was sorry he'd gotten so angry.
say (you are) sorry (=tell someone that you feel bad about hurting them, causing problems etc)
It was probably too late to say sorry, but she would try anyway.
see usage note regret1


spoken especially British English used to ask someone to repeat something that you have not heard properly [= pardon]:
Sorry? What was that again?
'Want a drink?' 'Sorry?' 'I said, would you like a drink?'

feeling pity

be/feel sorry for somebody

to feel pity or sympathy for someone because something bad has happened to them or because they are in a bad situation:
I've got no sympathy for him, but I feel sorry for his wife.
Tina was sorry for her. She seemed so lonely.
feel sorry for yourself (=feel unhappy and pity yourself)
It's no good feeling sorry for yourself. It's all your own fault.


[not before noun] feeling sad about a situation, and wishing it were different
sorry (that)
Brigid was always sorry she hadn't kept up her piano lessons.
sorry to do something
We were sorry to miss your concert.
I won't be sorry to leave this place.
sorry to hear/see/learn
I was sorry to hear about your accident.
sorry about
I'm so sorry about your father (=I am sorry something bad has happened to him).

you'll be sorry

spoken used to tell someone that they will soon wish they had not done something, especially because someone will be angry or punish them:
You'll be sorry when your dad hears about this.

I'm sorry to say (that)

spoken used to say that you are disappointed that something has happened:
I wrote several times but they never replied, I'm sorry to say.

very bad

[only before noun] very bad, especially in a way that makes you feel pity or disapproval:
the sorry state of the environment
It's a sorry state of affairs when an old lady has to wait 12 hours to see a doctor.
the sorry sight of so many dead animals
This whole sorry episode (=bad thing that happened) shows just how incompetent the government has become.

➔ better (to be) safe than sorry

at safe1 (9)

excuse me, pardon me, beg your pardon, sorry
excuse me and pardon me are polite expressions that you use when you do something that could be slightly embarrassing or rude, for example in the cases below.You usually use sorry to apologize after you have done something wrong.Use excuse me when you want to interrupt someone, say something to a person you do not know, or get past someone Excuse me, do you know the time? Excuse me, can I just reach across and get my bag?Use excuse me when you have to leave someone for a short time Excuse me for a moment while I make a call.excuse me can also be used, especially in American English, when you have not heard or understood what someone has said 'You're late.' 'Excuse me?' 'I said you're late.' 'Oh, sorry.' Speakers of British English usually use pardon 'My name is Timothy.' 'Pardon?'In American English, it is also possible to use pardon me in these situations. In British English, you usually say pardon me when you have done something slightly impolite such as burping or sneezing. In American English, you usually say excuse me.I beg your pardon is a rather old-fashioned expression used to apologize for doing something embarrassing or for making a mistake in what you have said There are 65 - I beg your pardon - 56 students on the course.!! Do not confuse the verb excuse /ɪkskjuːz/ with the noun excuse /ɪkskjuːs/, which means a reason for doing something wrong, often an invented or false reason.See also excuse

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