From woe + -ful.
woeful (comparative woefuller, superlative woefullest)
- Full of woe; sorrowful; distressed with grief or calamity.
- 1595, Samuel Daniel, The First Four Books of the Civil Wars
- How many woeful widows left to bow / To sad disgrace!
- Bringing calamity, distress, or affliction.
- a woeful event
- a woeful lack of restraint
- Lamentable, deplorable.
- Wretched; paltry; poor.
1711, Pope, Alexander, An Essay on Criticism; republished in The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, Boston, New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1902, page 72:
What woful stuff this madrigal would be / In some starv'd hackney sonneteer or me!