Origin of keening
- a wailing lament for the dead.
- to wail in lamentation for the dead.
- to mourn for by or with such keening or wailing: keening his mother while kneeling at her grave.
Origin of keen2
Examples from the Web for keening
She crinkles her brow and then, on cue, she emits a keening howl.When An Adopted Child Won’t Attach
May 2, 2014
But nothing they essayed could fully drown out the keening of their lust to return to high office.Tony Blair May Be Planning a Political Comeback but in What Role It’s Hard to Imagine
May 5, 2012
The women are keening softly and swaying themselves with a slow movement.Riders to the Sea
J. M. Synge
It rose and fell, rose and fell, then died away like the keening of a lost soul.The End of Time
The room was filled with the keening staccato of the alien transmission.Greylorn
John Keith Laumer
The huge brain was alert now, with a supernal sense of keening.Walls of Acid
Keening in from the lake, the wind made him stagger backwards.The Spell of the White Sturgeon
James Arthur Kjelgaard
- eager or enthusiastic
- (postpositive foll by on) fond (of); devoted (to)keen on a girl; keen on golf
- intellectually acutea keen wit
- (of sight, smell, hearing, etc) capable of recognizing fine distinctions
- having a sharp cutting edge or point
- extremely cold and penetratinga keen wind
- intense or stronga keen desire
- mainly British extremely low so as to be competitivekeen prices
- slang, mainly US and Canadian very good
- to lament the dead
- a dirge or lament for the dead
Word Origin and History for keening
c.1200, from Old English cene "bold brave," later "clever, wise," from Proto-Germanic *kan- "be able to" (see can). Original prehistoric senses seem to have been both "brave" and "skilled;" cognate with Old Norse kænn "skillful, wise," Middle Dutch coene "bold," Dutch koen, Old High German kuon "pugnacious, strong," German kühn "bold, daring." Sense of "eager" is from mid-14c. The meaning "sharp" is peculiar to English: of blades and edges early 13c., of sounds c.1400, of eyesight c.1720. A popular word of approval in teenager and student slang from c.1900.
"lament," 1811, from Irish caoinim "I weep, wail, lament," from Old Irish coinim "I wail." Related: Keened; keening. As a noun from 1830.