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[sahy] /saɪ/
verb (used without object)
to let out one's breath audibly, as from sorrow, weariness, or relief.
to yearn or long; pine.
to make a sound suggesting a sigh:
sighing wind.
verb (used with object)
to express or utter with a sigh.
to lament with sighing.
the act or sound of sighing.
Origin of sigh
1250-1300; (v.) Middle English sighen, back formation from sihte sighed, past tense of Middle English siken, sichen, Old English sīcan to sigh; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related forms
sigher, noun
outsigh, verb (used with object)
unsighing, adjective
Can be confused
side, sighed.
sighs, size (see synonym study at size) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sighing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He began to pace the room with his habitual restlessness when in solitary thought—often stopping—often sighing heavily.

    What Will He Do With It, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • He was sighing like a furnace as he strapped his portmanteau.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • "The doctor was romantic at heart," explained Mrs. James, sighing, and pausing with an ice-cold chocolate éclair in her hand.

    The Heather-Moon C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • I can't account for the misgiving I have,' he said, sighing.

  • And certainly at that moment he did not bear any striking resemblance to a sighing Amintor or a passionate Othello.

    Gabriel Conroy Bert Harte
  • He was a large man, with a dreamy expression and a habit of sighing.

    They and I Jerome K. Jerome
  • sighing deeply, Mr. Earnscliffe opened his desk and began to write.

  • The pendulum of the clock told the seconds with a dull, sighing sound.

    Foma Gordyeff Maxim Gorky
British Dictionary definitions for sighing


(intransitive) to draw in and exhale audibly a deep breath as an expression of weariness, despair, relief, etc
(intransitive) to make a sound resembling this: trees sighing in the wind
(intransitive) often foll by for. to yearn, long, or pine
(transitive) to utter or express with sighing
the act or sound of sighing
Derived Forms
sigher, noun
Word Origin
Old English sīcan, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sighing



mid-13c., probably a Middle English back-formation from sighte, past tense of Old English sican "to sigh," perhaps echoic of the sound of sighing. Related: Sighed; sighing.


early 14c., from sigh (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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