Borrowed from Latin condoleo, condolere (to suffer with another).



condole (third-person singular simple present condoles, present participle condoling, simple past and past participle condoled)

  1. (intransitive) To express sympathetic sorrow; to lament in sympathy (with someone on something).
    • 1674, William Temple, “To the Countess of Essex upon Her Grief occasioned by the loss of Her only Daughter” in Miscellanea, London: Edward Gellibrand, 1680, pp. 170-171,[1]
      [] your friends would have cause to rejoyce rather than condole with you []
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume 3, Chapter 5,[2]
      [] lady Lucas has been very kind; she walked here on Wednesday morning to condole with us, and offered her services, or any of her daughters, if they could be of use to us.”
    • 1872, George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 44,[3]
      Since the Captain’s visit, she had received a letter from him, and also one from Mrs. Mengan, his married sister, condoling with her on the loss of her baby []
    • 1900, Stephen Crane, “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” in Wounds in the Rain: War Stories, New York: Frederick A. Stokes, p. 75,[4]
      Little Nell condoled and condoled without difficulty. He laid words of gentle sympathy before them, and smothered his own misery behind the face of a reporter of the New York Eclipse.
  2. (transitive) To condole with (someone).
    • c. 1598, William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act II, Scene 1,[5]
      Let us condole the knight; for, lambkins we will live.
    • 1662, John Donne, “A Cabinet of Merry Conceits” in Donne’s Satyr, London: M. Wright, No. 98, p. 64,[6]
      I not condole the dead, but those who’re living,
      To whom the fear of death, gives cause of grieveing.
    • 1958, Karen Blixen (as Isak Dinesen), “Babette’s Feast” in Anecdotes of Destiny, London: Michael Joseph,[7]
      When in early days the sisters had gently condoled her upon her losses, they had been met with that majesty and stoicism of which Monsieur Papin had written. ‘What will you ladies?’ she had answered, shrugging her shoulders, ‘it is Fate.’
  3. (transitive) To say in an expression of sympathy.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, p. 252,[8]
      — So sad to look at his face, Miss Douce condoled.
    • 1940, Marjorie Bowen (as Joseph Shearing), The Crime of Laura Sarelle, Berkley Medallion, 1965, Part One,[9]
      “You still look faint, my dear,” condoled Mrs. Sylk. “It is the motion and smell of this hideous train. How it rocks! []
    • 1988, Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming Pool Library, Penguin, Chapter 7, p. 146,[10]
      ‘There’s always another time,’ I condoled feebly.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To lament, grieve, bemoan (something).
    • 1624, John Donne, “23. Meditation” in Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, London: Thomas Jones, p. 599,[11]
      [] compassion it selfe, comes to no great degree, if wee haue not felt, in some proportion, in our selues, that which wee lament and condole in another.
    • 1680, John Dryden, “The Preface to Ovid’s Epistles” in Ovid’s Epistles translated by several hands, London: Jacob Tonson,[12]
      If Julia were then Married to Agrippa, why should our Poet make his Petition to Isis, for her safe Delivery, and afterwards, Condole her Miscarriage; which for ought he knew might be by her own Husband?
    • 1703, William Dampier, A New Voyage Round the World, London: James Knapton, Volume I, Chapter 5, p. 127,[13]
      [] whether it be natural to the Indians to be thus melancholy, or the effect of their Slavery, I am not certain: But I have always been prone to believe, that they are then only condoling their Misfortunes, the loss of their Country and Liberties []
    • 1720, Daniel Defoe, The Life, Adventures, and Pyracies, Of the Famous Captain Singleton, London: J. Brotherton, pp. 69-70,[14]
      As soon as we had fired, they set up the horridest Yell, or Howling, partly raised by those that were wounded, and partly by those that pitied and condoled the Bodies they saw lye dead, that I never heard any thing like it before or since.

Related termsEdit






  1. second-person singular present active imperative of condoleō