From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishtragedytra‧ge‧dy /ˈtrædʒədi/ ●●○ noun (plural tragedies) 1 [countable, uncountable]DISASTER a very sad event, that shocks people because it involves death The tragedy happened as they were returning home from a night out. Tragedy struck the family when their two-year-old son was killed in an accident.2 [countable] informalDISASTER something that seems very sad and unnecessary because something will be wasted, lost, or harmed It’s a tragedy to see so much talent going to waste.3 a) [countable]ALAPT a serious play or book that ends sadly, especially with the death of the main character → comedy ‘Hamlet’ is one of Shakespeare’s best known tragedies. b) [uncountable]ALAPT this type of play or book an actor specializing in tragedyCOLLOCATIONSadjectivesa terrible/great tragedyHis death is a terrible tragedy for his family.an awful/appalling tragedy (=very unpleasant and shocking)This is an appalling tragedy which will haunt us for the rest of our lives.a personal tragedyHe suffered a great personal tragedy two years ago when his son died suddenly.a human tragedyThe UN wants to see an end to the conflict and the human tragedy involved.verbsa tragedy happens/occursThe tragedy happened shortly before 5pm on Saturday.a tragedy unfoldsWhen you visit the country, you begin to appreciate the size of the tragedy that is unfolding.tragedy strikes (=happens suddenly)Just when it looked as though everything would turn out right, tragedy struck and Jenny developed a fatal illness.end in tragedyThe all-night fishing trip ended in tragedy for the four men after their boat ran aground.avert/avoid a tragedy (=prevent it from happening)The owners could have done something to avert the tragedy.
Examples from the Corpustragedy• Theirs is a tragedy for our entire nation.• Unless the world deals with the AIDS threat now, the African continent could suffer "a tragedy of historic proportions."• The girl's short life had been dogged by tragedy.• Oedipus is one of the most famous characters in Greek tragedy.• The real tragedy is that the city will no longer have an orchestra.• Shakespeare's tragedies• What the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South said about the tragedy unfolding before us is right.• The story went that after the tragedy Godolphin had retired to his country estate, and never again ventured beyond its perimeters.• Investigators still do not know what caused the tragedy, which killed all 278 people on board.• Area police, who were coordinating the tragedy coverage, issued a statement following complaints from some of the families.• The Fairley family considered that they dealt with their tragedy very well, because both children afterwards showed no signs of trauma.• There is no clear professional accountability when tragedies occur although there are some signs of it emerging.• By increasing the emotional element in comedy, comedy comes into closer relationship with tragedy.• the worst tragedy in the history of space flightTragedy struck• Tragedy struck the family when their two-year old son died of leukemia.Origin tragedy (1300-1400) Old French tragedie, from Latin, from Greek tragoidia, probably from tragos “goat” + aeidein “to sing”