[ keen ]
/ kin /


a wailing lament for the dead.

verb (used without object)

to wail in lamentation for the dead.

verb (used with object)

to mourn for by or with such keening or wailing: keening his mother while kneeling at her grave.

Nearby words

  1. keelie,
  2. keeling islands,
  3. keelless,
  4. keelson,
  5. keelung,
  6. keen about, be,
  7. keene,
  8. keene's cement,
  9. keener,
  10. keening

Origin of keen

1805–15; < Irish caoine (noun), caoin- (v., stem of caoinim) lament

Related formskeen·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for keened

British Dictionary definitions for keened


/ (kiːn) /


Derived Formskeenly, adverbkeenness, noun

Word Origin for keen

Old English cēne; related to Old High German kuoni brave, Old Norse koenn wise; see can 1, know


/ (kiːn) /

verb (intr)

to lament the dead


a dirge or lament for the dead
Derived Formskeener, noun

Word Origin for keen

C19: from Irish Gaelic caoine, from Old Irish coīnim I wail

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 keened
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper