American English

Definition of sorry adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//ˈsɔri//
    (sorrier, sorriest)
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  1. 1You can also use more sorry and most sorry. [not before noun] feeling sad and sympathetic sorry (that)… I'm sorry that your husband lost his job. sorry (to see, hear, etc.) We're sorry to hear that your father's in the hospital again. sorry (about something) No one is sorrier than I am about what happened.
  2. 2[not before noun] feeling sad and ashamed about something that has been done sorry (about something) We're very sorry about the damage to your car. sorry (for something/doing something) He says he's really sorry for taking the car without asking. sorry (that)… She was sorry that she'd lost her temper. If you say you're sorry we'll forgive you.
  3. 3[not before noun] feeling disappointed about something and wishing you had done something different or had not done something sorry (that)… She was sorry that she'd lost contact with Mary. You'll be sorry if I catch you! sorry to do something I was genuinely sorry to be leaving college.
  4. 4[only before noun] very sad or bad, especially making you feel sympathy or disapproval The business is in a sorry state. They were a sorry sight when they eventually got off the boat.
  5. Idioms
    be/feel sorry for somebody
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    to feel sympathy for someone He decided to help Jan, as he felt sorry for her.
    better safe than sorry (saying)
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    used to say that it is wiser to be too careful than to act too quickly and do something you may later wish you had not
    feel sorry for yourself (informal) (disapproving)
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    to feel unhappy; feel sympathy for yourself Stop feeling sorry for yourself and think about other people for a change.
    1. 1used when you are apologizing for something I'm sorry, I forgot. Oh, I'm sorry. Have I taken the one you wanted? I'm sorry. I can't make it tomorrow.
    2. 2used for disagreeing with someone or politely saying “no” I'm sorry, I don't agree. I'm sorry, I'd rather you didn't go.
    3. 3used for introducing bad news I'm sorry to have to tell you you've failed.
    I'm sorry to say
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    used for saying that something is disappointing He didn't accept the job, I'm sorry to say.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sorry