Entry: woebegone (adj.)
In context: "...a woebegone little marginal archaic desktop-pub.-looking thing..."
Definition: ‘Beset with woe’; oppressed with misfortune, distress, sorrow, or grief. Obs. or arch.
Etymology: The construction out of which this word arose is illustrated by the quots. immediately following, in which an objective pronoun is governed by a complex verb phrase containing bego v. (q.v. sense 8) with woe n. as subject (me is wo bigon = woe has beset me) <
c1330 Amis & Amil. 2150 Me nas neuer so woe bigon, Yif thou it wost vnderstond! For..almost ichaue him slon.
c1405 (1395) Chaucer Franklin's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 608 Noght wolde I telle yow how me is wo bigon But certes outher moste I dye or pleyne.
Subsequently a change of construction took place, parallel to the passing of me is woe into I am woe (see woe adj.), woe and begone becoming consequently so indivisibly associated as to form a compound.
In the following quot. there seems to be a blend of the old and new constructions:
1593 T. Watson Tears of Fancie xxxviii, My hart doth whisper I am woe begone me.
SNOOT score: 1
Source: Oxford English Dictionary