[ grohn ]
See 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.

  1. 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.

  1. to make a sound resembling a groan; resound harshly: The steps of the old house groaned under my weight.

  2. to be overburdened or overloaded.

  3. to suffer greatly or lamentably: groaning under an intolerable burden.

verb (used with object)
  1. to utter or express with groans.

Origin of groan

First recorded before 900; Middle English gronen, Old English grānian; cognate with German greinen “to whine”

synonym study 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.

Other words from groan

  • groaner, noun
  • groan·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·der·groan, noun
  • un·groan·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with groan Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use groan in a sentence

  • With creaks and groans in every joint the car discharged its six very dusty, very weary occupants.

  • I looked over, but all I saw was an indistinct mass at the bottom, while a few groans of its death-agony reached my ears.

    Confessions of a Thug | Philip Meadows Taylor
  • The Jemadar fell beneath my own handkerchief, and a few shrieks and groans told the rest—all had died.

    Confessions of a Thug | Philip Meadows Taylor
  • This savage play was quickly stilled, however, as groans of pain and shouts of furious anger came to us.

    A Virginia Scout | Hugh Pendexter
  • The scream was followed by a fall, a short scuffle, repeated stabbings, and violent breathing mixed with low groans.

    Overland | John William De Forest

British Dictionary definitions for groan


/ (ɡrəʊn) /

  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

  1. informal a grumble or complaint, esp a persistent one

  1. to utter (low inarticulate sounds) expressive of pain, grief, disapproval, etc: they all groaned at Larry's puns

  2. (intr) to make a sound like a groan

  1. (intr, usually foll by beneath or under) to be weighed down (by) or suffer greatly (under): the country groaned under the dictator's rule

  2. (intr) informal to complain or grumble

Origin of groan

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

Derived forms of groan

  • groaning, noun, adjective
  • groaningly, adverb

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