Sad, like its opposite, happy, is an adjective generally used to describe feelings, although in this instance the feelings are those of sorrow or unhappiness. A person will feel sad if a good friend moves far away, or if a family member is very sick. Sad can also refer to situations that are considered unfortunate. When heavy rains caused the dam to break and flood the town, it was a sad day for everyone. Sad can describe something that is in deplorable or shabby condition, such as the sad state of the economy or the sad appearance of a run-down neighborhood.
In more casual or informal usage, sad is often used to mean pathetic or inadequate. If a student waits until the last minute to complete a project, it might look pretty sad compared to those of others in the class. A movie sequel might be a sad attempt to recreate the excitement of the first film. The basketball team’s lackluster performance was a sad sight.
The many synonyms for sad make it a very worthwhile word to explore. Consider the differences in meaning between words such as blue, down, gloomy, depressed, melancholy, woebegone, or inconsolable.
The word sad is a cognate of the Old Dutch sat. The Spanish word for sad is triste. Sad and triste are not cognates. However, a few synonyms of sad do have Spanish cognates. One example would be melancholy and melancolía.