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feel sorry for (someone)
1. To empathize with or feel compassion for another person and their sorrows, problems, or plight. It's infuriating that the CEOs swindled the country for millions of dollars, but I feel especially sorry for the thousands of their employees who are now out of a job. I feel so sorry for Johnny—his addiction has gotten completely out of control.
2. To pity someone or their situation, especially in a condescending manner. I don't need you or anyone else feeling sorry for me! I must say, I feel sorry for the way you need constant affirmation from other people.
in a sorry state
In a pitiful or abject condition. My business was in a sorry state after I left it under the control of my brother. John's been in a sorry state lately—I think he's taken up drinking again.
be in a sorry state
To be in a very poor, pitiful, dysfunctional, or sad state or condition. I guarantee that the company will be in a sorry state in no time if my no-account brother is put in charge. Their house has been in a sorry state ever since Dan's wife passed away.
a sorry state (of affairs)
A particularly unfortunate, unpleasant, and/or upsetting situation or set of circumstances. Their company has been in a sorry state ever since Jonathan took over. It's a sorry state of affairs when you can no longer be sure how you'll feed your children each night.
Regret (something). Often used in the phrase, "you'll be sorry." OK, fine, don't do what mom said—you'll be sorry! If you go in my room when I'm not here, you'll be sorry!
See also: sorry
better (to be) safe than sorry
It is better to expend the time or effort to be cautious with one's actions than to feel regret about one's carelessness later. It might be nothing, but you should take your car to the mechanic right away—better to be safe than sorry. I was so nervous about oversleeping that I set three alarms. Better safe than sorry, you know?
sorry to say
Regretfully; unfortunately. The film had a lot of potential, but, sorry to say, it falls flat in just about every way.
(Are you) sorry you asked?
Now that you have heard (the unpleasant answer), do you regret having asked the question? (Compare this with You'll be sorry you asked.) Father: How are you doing in school? Bill: I'm flunking out. Sorry you asked? Mother: You've been looking a little down lately. Is there anything wrong? Bill: I probably have the flu. Are you sorry you asked?
See also: sorry
Better (be) safe than sorry.
Prov. Cliché You should be cautious—if you are not, you may regret it. It may be time-consuming to check the oil in your car every time you buy gasoline, but better safe than sorry. Bob: I don't need a tetanus shot just because I stepped on a nail. Mary: I still think you should get one. Better be safe than sorry.
an expression used to excuse oneself politely or apologize, especially when one has collided with someone, when one has offended someone, or to ask someone to repeat what has been said. "I'm sorry," I said to the woman I bumped into. I'm sorry, what did you say? I couldn't hear you.
(I'm) sorry to hear that,
an expression of consolation or regret. John: My cat died last week. Jane: I am sorry to hear that. Bill: I'm afraid I won't be able to continue here as head teller. Bank manager: Sorry to hear that.
(I'm) sorry you asked (that).
I regret that you asked about something I wanted to forget. Tom: What on earth is this hole in your suit jacket? Bill: I'm sorry you asked. I was feeding a squirrel and it bit through my pocket where the food was. Sally: Why is there only canned soup in the cupboard? John: Sorry you asked that. I just haven't been to the grocery store in awhile. Sally: Want some soup?
sorry about thatand sorry 'bout that
sorry; whoops. (A gross understatement, said more as a self-deprecating joke than as an apology.) You spill hot cocoa on my coat, and all you can say is "Sorry 'about that"? When the passenger stepped on my toe, she said, "sorry about that."
sorry sightand sad sight
a sight that one regrets seeing; someone or something that is unpleasant to look at. Well, aren't you a sorry sight! Go get cleaned up and put on some fresh clothes.
Sorry (that) I asked.
Now that I have heard the answer, I regret asking the question. Alice: Can we get anew car soon? The old one is a wreck. John: Are you kidding? There's no way that we could ever afford a new car! Alice: Sorry I asked. After he heard the long list of all the reasons he wouldn't be allowed to go to the concert, Fred just shrugged and said, "Sorry that I asked."
You'll be sorry you asked.
Inf. The answer to the question you just asked is so bad that you will be sorry you asked it. (Compare this with (Are you) sorry you asked?) Father: What are your grades going to be like this semester? Sally: You'll be sorry you asked. Mary: How much did you pay for that lamp? Jane: You'll be sorry you asked.
better safe than sorry
Being careful may avoid disaster, as in I'm not taking any short-cuts-better safe than sorry. This cautionary phrase appeared as better sure than sorry in 1837.
better safe than sorryor
it's better to be safe than sorry
COMMON People say better safe than sorry or it's better to be safe than sorry to mean that it is good to be careful, even if it may not seem necessary, in order to avoid problems. I think you should stay in hospital another day or two — better safe than sorry, right? Never take chances with electrical equipment of any kind — it's better to be safe than sorry! Note: People also say that they would rather be safe than sorry. We were surprised by the level of security. `I'd rather be safe than sorry,' she explained.
better safe than sorryit's wiser to be cautious and careful than to be hasty or rash and so do something that you may later regret.
Apparently the expression is quite recent in this form (mid 20th century); better be sure than sorry is recorded from the mid 19th century.
1998 New Scientist The meeting is to be commended for taking a ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude, and drawing up a baseline list of measures to be put in place when disease breaks out.
ˌbetter (to be) ˌsafe than ˈsorry(saying) it is better to be too careful than to do something careless that you may later regret: We’d better fill the car up with petrol now. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
cut a fine, poor, sorry, etc. ˈfigurehave a fine, etc. appearance: In his brand new uniform he cut a fine figure.
be/feel ˈsorry for somebodyfeel sympathy or pity for somebody: I feel sorry for all the people who are alone at Christmas.
be/feel ˈsorry for yourself(informal, disapproving) be/feel unhappy because you think other people have treated you badly, etc: You can’t sit there feeling sorry for yourself all day.
I’m ˈsorry to sayused for saying that something is disappointing: He didn’t accept the job, I’m sorry to say.
mod. pitiful; drawing ridicule or scorn; worthy more of condemnation than pity. (In colloquial use these words are usually used in sarcasm and disgust.) You are one sorry bastard! You are a pathetic person and a pathetic example of a quarterback!
sorry about thatand sorry ’bout that
interj. sorry; whoops. (A gross understatement, said more as a self-deprecating joke than as an apology.) When the passenger stepped on my toe, she said, “Sorry about that.”
sorry ’bout thatverb
See sorry about that
1. mod. sad and depressed. (Usually objectionable.) Man, old Charlie was about the most sorry-ass dude you ever saw.
2. mod. worthless; poor quality. (Usually objectionable.) How much longer do I have to drive this sorry-ass excuse for an automobile?