- tragedywas originally a term for a kind of drama which involves the downfall of the principal character or characters, brought about by significant events which are often the actions of the protagonists themselves. It has been developed in use to refer to major misfortunes in real life
• (The government…had been captured by the extreme right and its budget measures were ‘a tragedy for many good New Zealanders’ —Keesings, 1990)and while this may be seen as a typical example of semantic weakening, it should not extend to the context of more trivial or ephemeral setbacks, such as defeat in a sports event. The word is best reserved for uses in which serious misfortune is involved. The same applies to the adjective tragic, which describes meaningful events that have disastrous consequences. Strictly speaking, a tragic accident is a contradiction in terms, since an accident by definition lacks the import involved in the notion of tragedy; but the combination is so well established that objection to it is futile. The word is commonly used redundantly by journalists to add flavour to their accounts: Exactly a decade to the day that Diana was killed in a tragic car crash [etc.] —Coventry Evening Telegraph, 2007.
Modern English usage. 2014.