From Middle English wo, wei, wa, from Old English wā, wǣ, from Proto-Germanic *wai, whence also Dutch wee, German Weh, weh, Danish ve, Yiddish וויי (vey). Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wai. Compare Latin vae, Albanian vaj, French ouais, Ancient Greek οὐαί (ouaí), Persian وای (vây) (Turkish vay, a Persian borrowing), and Armenian վայ (vay).
woe (countable and uncountable, plural woes)
- Great sadness or distress; a misfortune causing such sadness.
- Calamity, trouble.
- A curse; a malediction.
woe (comparative more woe, superlative most woe)
- (obsolete) Woeful; sorrowful
- (archaic) An exclamation of grief.