I saw this headline today "Sushma Swaraj condoles death of Abdul Sattar". I have always used the word only in the noun form as in "Sushma Swaraj expresses condolences on death of ..."

The free dictionary site says the word is usually followed by "with".

When I searched Google news with the string "condoles death" almost all the results were from Indian or other Asian newspapers.

So is this a regional usage? Just seems awkward!

  • Most of the closely-related senses of to condole are marked "obsolete" in the full OED. But they don't say that for 4. To express (formally) one's sympathetic regret at (a misfortune), where it's worth noting that the most recent citation is 1969 Hindusthan Standard (Calcutta). There are a total of 30 citations on that page, within which the second and third most recent are 1872 and 1833 (and all the others are pre-1800). – FumbleFingers Jul 9 '16 at 13:15
  • 1
    ...in short, it's probably yet another case where Indian English isn't actually inventing a new usage. They're simply reviving an old one (or perhaps they never stopped using it anyway, I don't know). – FumbleFingers Jul 9 '16 at 13:16
  • I accepted the answer from Edwin even though as FumbleFingers pointed out I really didn't have any conflation issues with console. But it does cite examples from the OED to explain the usage, so it's helpful. I will just chalk it up to another instance of Indian English's idiosyncrasies along with "Kindly do the needful" and others :-) – ChuckLeviton Jul 10 '16 at 12:13

I think you may find helpful the following extract about two often confused and misused terms, condole and console.

"To condole the death of someone" is an idiomatic expression which is used mainly on formal occasions as explained below in an article by Maeve Maddox at Daily Writing Tips:

In searching for illustrations of current usage, I find that confusion between the words is more common in the writing of non-native English speakers, although native speakers do err with this pair.

Both verbs refer to expressions of sympathy and comfort. The corresponding nouns are condolence (most often in the plural) and consolation.

“To condole” is “to grieve with; to express sympathy with another in his affliction.”:

  • Condole is usually followed by with:

    • We condoled with our friends over the loss of their parents.

    • The airline official condoled with the relatives of the crash victims.

  • Condole is used transitively when the object is death, as in formal expressions of sympathy:

    • Politicians unite to condole the death of APJ Abdul Kalam.

    • The US State Department yesterday released a press statement to condole the death of Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.

  • Condole may also be used in an absolute sense:

    • The hall was filled with hundreds of mourners who had come to condole.

    • It seemed the entire village was there to condole.

“To console” is “to comfort in mental distress or depression; to alleviate the sorrow of (someone).”:

  • Console is always transitive:

    • How do I console a friend who just lost his brother in a tragic accident?

    • Prince Harry Reunites with His Former Teacher Who Consoled Him After His Mother Died.

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  • I think you've completely missed the point here. OP's cited instance of to condole is perfectly valid Indian English, in no way predicated on inability to distinguish that verb from to console (which OP never mentioned). – FumbleFingers Jul 9 '16 at 17:06
  • @FumbleFingers - I think I understood the question, as you did! I mentioned the condole/console issue just to introduce the extract which, I think, clearly explains the current usage of "to condole" including the idiomatic "condole the death of" which OP specifically mentions. As you can see my answers highlights that usage. – user66974 Jul 9 '16 at 17:09
  • Well, it's a long answer, so I haven't read every word. But it does contain an awful lot of references to console, which isn't really relevant to the question. Worse than that, it gives the impression (perhaps unintentionally) that OP and/or his cited source might be prone to conflate the two words. – FumbleFingers Jul 9 '16 at 17:14
  • @FumbleFingers - I admit it may result strange at first sight, but actually most of the information contained is about "to condole". I'd leave it as it is, additional related information may result helpful IMO – user66974 Jul 9 '16 at 17:20
  • I think it might be better if you edited to include something about the fact that it's apparently perfectly natural in Indian English even without with. I've made that point in several comments now, but as you know, comments are always subject to deletion. – FumbleFingers Jul 9 '16 at 17:25

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