I could have sworn "lugubration" was a word, but dictionaries I check either draw a blank, or suggest it's a spelling error of "lucubration".

And yet .. it shows up in historical uses:

Queensland Legislative Assembly Hansard (7 SEPTEMBER 1880):

The Press had been unduly fostered by the State, in being allowed to send their lugubrations broadcast throughout the colony without a quid pro quo.

Historical and Descriptive Guide through Shrewsbury (S. F. Williams, 1881):

It can readily be believed, as Dr. Taylor says, that all this lugubration caused “my Lord hymself to change countenance!”

Letter from John Fogg Taylor of Tundemunga, near Adelaide (1840):

[...] & I was resolved not to trouble you with my lugubrations [...]

The two Napoleons and England: Two Pages of History (1858):

The slavery and degredation of France, groaning under the foot of the Corsican usurper, formed the staple of his lugugrations in prose; the dagger that laid low Cæser, graced his verse.

Each of these are possibly related to lucubration ("a learned or pedantic piece of writing"), but each could also be related to lugubrious ("looking or sounding sad and dismal"). Sadly, the only commonality is the paucity of context. My uneducated and unsourced prior sense of the word leans towards the latter sense, so my opinion shouldn't be considered unbiased.

Are there dictionaries or more that can shed light on the old meaning of lugubration?

  • 1
    There are quite a few usage examples here: google.com/… the sense appears to be close to lucubrations: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lucubration
    – user 66974
    May 31, 2022 at 6:49
  • The following snippet suggests it is a literary invention: “verse between Dryden's return to it and Young's famous " lugubrations , " as somebody once called them . We saw how Dryden himself , supporting his usual craftsmanship with a study not merely of the older dramatists but of Milton ...books.google.it/…
    – user 66974
    May 31, 2022 at 7:04
  • It's not in the OED. As suggested, it is almost certainly a misspelling of lucubriation = OED: 2. quasi-concrete. Usually plural. The product of nocturnal study and meditation; hence, a literary work showing signs of careful elaboration. Now somewhat derisive or playful, suggesting the notion of something pedantic or over-elaborate.
    – Greybeard
    May 31, 2022 at 9:16

1 Answer 1


The word is a noun related to lugubrious.

Merriam Webster
especially : exaggeratedly or affectedly (mournful)

Lugubrious has Latin Roots
Lugubrious is the sole surviving English offspring of Latin lugēre, meaning "to mourn." Its closest kin, luctual, an adjective meaning "sad" or "sorrowful," was put to rest centuries ago.

Merriam Webster implies that other Latin derivations such as as the noun you quote have not gained currency.

From this perspective, all your quotations of the word relate to mournings, regrets, sadnesses or lamentations.

  • Not sure all usage examples available fit with the sense of lugubrious. google.com/…
    – user 66974
    May 31, 2022 at 7:26
  • @user66974 thanks. point taken. I have loosened the sense of the final part of the answer.
    – Anton
    May 31, 2022 at 7:32

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