1. an unfortunate situation, a bad situation/circumstance
country/economy is in a sorry state of affairs, it's a sorry state of affairs when (sth is bad)
Something which is 'a sorry state of affairs' is a particularly bad situation or upsetting, unfortunate or unpleasant circumstance. This is an idiomatic expression used to express distress or dismay at a particular situation or crossroads. If someone is 'in a sorry state' they are hard on their luck or have met with unfortunate events. This is an expression that is more likely to be used in social contexts.