[ mohn ]
See synonyms for: moanmoanedmoaning on

    • a prolonged, low sound uttered from physical or mental suffering.

    • a prolonged, low sound uttered from any other strong physical or mental sensation, especially pleasure.

  1. any prolonged, low sound: The alarming moan of the engines suggested they'd break down soon.

  1. complaint or lamentation: Despite last year's moan about how much effort Christmas is, I'm feeling up to it this year.

verb (used without object)
    • to make a prolonged, low sound from physical or mental suffering.

    • to make a prolonged, low sound from any other strong physical or mental sensation, especially pleasure.

  1. (of inanimate objects) to make a prolonged, low sound: The wind moaned through the trees.

  1. to complain: I may moan about the weather here, but at least it doesn't get hot.

verb (used with object)
  1. to utter (something) inarticulately or pitifully: He moaned his response.

  2. to lament or express grief over; bemoan: It does no good to moan your position in life instead of taking action.

Origin of moan

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English mone, man(e) (noun), Old English mān, unrecorded but inferred from its derivative mǣnan “to mourn”

synonym study For moan

1. See groan.

Other words for moan

Other words from moan

  • moan·ful, adjective
  • moan·ful·ly, adverb
  • moan·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·moaned, adjective
  • un·moan·ing, adjective

Words Nearby moan Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use moan in a sentence

  • As much as customers love to moan about small, uncomfortable seats, the demand for them is higher than ever.

  • And the best his Republican opponents can do is moan about Benghazi.

    Carter’s Belated Triumph | Peter Beinart | May 28, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • But, generally speaking, businesses scream and moan, react and innovate, and wind up in a better place.

    Don’t Cheap Out, Big Biz! | Daniel Gross | February 13, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The gnarled hands shut up into clenched fists, and the feeble voice trailed off in an agonized moan.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • The old owl no longer hooted, and the water-oaks had ceased to moan as they bent their heads.

  • Then a moan, then a howl and a shriek arose which reached from group to group, from house to house, from square to forest.

    A Lost Hero | Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward and Herbert D. Ward
  • With a low moan her head sunk upon the old man's knee, and she shook and trembled with violent emotion.

    The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
  • "I refuse," she answered, her arms falling, her voice a low moan of the most utter despair.

    They Looked and Loved | Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller

British Dictionary definitions for moan


/ (məʊn) /

  1. a low prolonged mournful sound expressive of suffering or pleading

  2. any similar mournful sound, esp that made by the wind

  1. a grumble or complaint

  1. to utter (words) in a low mournful manner

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

  1. (usually intr) to grumble or complain (esp in the phrase moan and groan)

Origin of moan

C13: related to Old English mǣnan to grieve over

Derived forms of moan

  • moaner, noun
  • moanful, adjective
  • moaning, noun, adjective
  • moaningly, 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