1 ASHAMED (not before noun) feeling ashamed or unhappy about something bad you have done: be sorry about: We're sorry about all the mess, Mom. | be sorry (that): Casey was sorry he'd gotten so angry at the kids over nothing. | say (you are) sorry: Go say you are sorry to your sister for hitting her, Larry. | sorry for: Tell Barbara you're sorry for pulling her hair. | say sorry especially BrE: Say sorry to your mother, Andrew.
2 be/feel sorry for to feel pity or sympathy for someone because something bad has happened to them: feel/be sorry for: Tina was sorry for Pat; she seemed so lonely. | I've got no sympathy for him, but I feel sorry for his wife. | feel sorry for yourself (=feel unhappy and pity yourself): It's no good feeling sorry for yourself. It's all your own fault.
3 DISAPPOINTED (not before noun) feeling sad about a situation or about something you have done, and wishing you had not done it or the situation was different: You'll be sorry if your father catches you! | be sorry (that): Brigid was always sorry she hadn't kept up her piano lessons. | I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the meal. | be sorry to do sth: We were sorry to miss your concert. | I won't be sorry to leave this place. | be sorry to hear/learn/see: I was sorry to hear about your accident.
4 VERY BAD (only before noun) very bad, especially in a way that makes you feel pity or disapproval: sorry sight: Milly was a sorry sight, dirty and dishevelled, by the time she got home. | sorry state of affairs: It's a sorry state of affairs when a sick old lady has to wait three hours to see a doctor.
5 sorry/I'm sorry
a) used to tell someone that you feel ashamed and unhappy about something bad you have done to them: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. Please forgive me.
(+ about): Sorry about that. I'll buy you a new one. | I'm sorry (that): I'm so sorry that I missed your birthday. I just completely forgot.
b) used as a polite way of excusing yourself in a social situation: I'm sorry, did I step on your foot? | It's about ten miles, sorry, kilometres from here. | sorry (that): Sorry we're a bit late - we got lost. | sorry to do sth: I'm sorry to bother you, but Ms. Duggan is on the line.
—see excuse 1
c) used to politely disagree with someone: I'm sorry, Alex, but you've got your figures wrong.
6 sorry? especially BrE used to ask someone to repeat something that you have not heard properly; pardon 1 (1): Sorry? What was that again? | “Like a drink?” “Sorry?” “I said, would you like a drink?”
7 you'll be sorry used to tell someone they will regret what they have done: You'll be sorry when I tell your Dad about this. | you'll be sorry (that): One day you'll be sorry that you didn't study harder at school.
8 I'm sorry to say used to say that you are disappointed that something has happened: I wrote to them several times but they never replied, I'm sorry to say.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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