verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

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

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for groan

Contemporary Examples of groan

Historical Examples of groan

  • I took off my coat and placed it under him, and held his head in my lap, in which position he died without a groan or a struggle.

  • Mr. Gracewood covered his face with his hand, and I heard him groan in bitterness of spirit.

    Plane and Plank

    Oliver Optic

  • Groan yourself,” said Mr. Mix, and put a trembling finger on the headline.


    Holworthy Hall

  • Look at me, marked until I die with his high displeasure; and moan and groan for what you made him!'

    David Copperfield

    Charles Dickens

  • I often think of poor Tom Hood as I scribble, rather than lie and groan.

    Louisa May Alcott

    Louisa May Alcott

British Dictionary definitions for groan



a prolonged stressed dull cry expressive of agony, pain, or disapproval
a loud harsh creaking sound, as of a tree bending in the wind
informal a grumble or complaint, esp a persistent one


to utter (low inarticulate sounds) expressive of pain, grief, disapproval, etcthey all groaned at Larry's puns
(intr) to make a sound like a groan
(intr, usually foll by beneath or under) to be weighed down (by) or suffer greatly (under)the country groaned under the dictator's rule
(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