1. Relating to or characteristic of dramatic tragedy or tragedies: tragic plays; the tragic hero.
2. Writing or performing in tragedy: a tragic poet.
3. Having the elements of tragedy; involving death, grief, or destruction: a tragic accident.
[Latin tragicus, from Greek tragikos, from tragos, goat, from trōgein, trag-, to munch, nibble (especially of herbivorous animals); probably akin to Armenian aracel, to graze, browse. For the connection of goats to tragedy, see TRAGEDY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.