See more synonyms for groan on
  1. a low, mournful sound uttered in pain or grief: the groans of dying soldiers.
  2. a deep, inarticulate sound uttered in derision, disapproval, desire, etc.
  3. a deep grating or creaking sound due to a sudden or continued overburdening, as with a great weight: We heard the groan of the ropes as the crane lowered the heavy cargo into the ship's hold.
verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a deep, mournful sound expressive of pain or grief.
  2. to make a deep, inarticulate sound expressive of derision, disapproval, desire, etc.
  3. to make a sound resembling a groan; resound harshly: The steps of the old house groaned under my weight.
  4. to be overburdened or overloaded.
  5. to suffer greatly or lamentably: groaning under an intolerable burden.
verb (used with object)
  1. to utter or express with groans.

Origin of groan

before 900; Middle English gronen, Old English grānian; cognate with German greinen to whine
Related formsgroan·er, noungroan·ing·ly, adverbun·der·groan, nounun·groan·ing, adjective
Can be confusedgroan grown (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for groan

See more synonyms for on
1. Groan, moan refer to sounds indicating deep suffering. A groan is a brief, strong, deep-throated sound emitted involuntarily under pressure of pain or suffering: The wounded man groaned when they lifted him. A moan is a prolonged, more or less continuous, low, inarticulate sound indicative of suffering, either physical or mental: She was moaning after the operation. She did not weep, but moaned softly. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for groan

Contemporary Examples of groan

Historical Examples of groan

  • A groan of distress burst from him, and he fled the place in ignominious rout.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • When Joggi got thus far in his story, he began to cry and groan, and would not be pacified.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • I flung it upon the floor with a curse and threw myself back on my bed with a groan.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • He was afraid to open his lips lest a groan should escape him.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • I was resolved that I would not be subdued, and that the world should not hear me groan.

British Dictionary definitions for groan


  1. a prolonged stressed dull cry expressive of agony, pain, or disapproval
  2. a loud harsh creaking sound, as of a tree bending in the wind
  3. informal a grumble or complaint, esp a persistent one
  1. to utter (low inarticulate sounds) expressive of pain, grief, disapproval, etcthey all groaned at Larry's puns
  2. (intr) to make a sound like a groan
  3. (intr, usually foll by beneath or under) to be weighed down (by) or suffer greatly (under)the country groaned under the dictator's rule
  4. (intr) informal to complain or grumble
Derived Formsgroaning, noun, adjectivegroaningly, adverb

Word Origin for groan

Old English grānian; related to Old Norse grīna, Old High German grīnan; see grin
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

Word Origin and History for groan

Old English granian "to groan, murmur, lament," from Proto-Germanic *grain- (cf. Old Norse grenja "to howl"), of imitative origin, or related to grin. Meaning "complain" is from early 13c., especially in Middle English phrase grutchen and gronen. Related: Groaned; groaning.


late 14c., from groan (v); earlier grane (early 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper