Tragedy is a noun that indicates disaster or bad fortune. It would be a tragedy to lose your job, but an even greater tragedy to fall ill while unemployed and without health care.

First recorded in the late 14th century, the noun tragedy originally referred to a play with an unhappy ending. About a century later it also came to mean an unhappy event or a disaster. The playwright George Bernard Shaw wittily observed, "“There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it.” The comedian Mel Brooks defined tragedy as follows: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die."

Definitions of tragedy
  1. noun
    an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
    synonyms: calamity, cataclysm, catastrophe, disaster
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    act of God, force majeure, inevitable accident, unavoidable casualty, vis major
    a natural and unavoidable catastrophe that interrupts the expected course of events
    a cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil
    a severe shortage of food (as through crop failure) resulting in violent hunger and starvation and death
    kiss of death
    something that is ruinous
    a disaster comparable to a nuclear meltdown
    any large scale calamity (especially when thought to be sent by God)
    any disaster or catastrophe
    tidal wave
    an unusual (and often destructive) rise of water along the seashore caused by a storm or a combination of wind and high tide
    a cataclysm resulting from a destructive sea wave caused by an earthquake or volcanic eruption
    the Great Calamity, the Great Hunger, the Great Starvation, the Irish Famine
    a famine in Ireland resulting from a potato blight; between 1846 and 1851 a million people starved to death and 1.6 million emigrated (most to America)
    type of:
    bad luck, misfortune
    unnecessary and unforeseen trouble resulting from an unfortunate event
  2. noun
    drama in which the protagonist is overcome by some superior force or circumstance; excites terror or pity
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    light and humorous drama with a happy ending
    a dramatic composition involving elements of both tragedy and comedy usually with the tragic predominating
    type of:
    the literary genre of works intended for the theater
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