[ 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use moan in a sentence

  • And then, inexplicably, the whole thing turns sexual when Newton-John begins moaning, “I like it,” toward the end.

  • Alessandro's face haunted him, and also the memory of Ramona's, as she lay tossing and moaning in the wretched Cahuilla hovel.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • The wind, too, was rising, and I heard the trees moaning overhead and the waves breaking with increasing clamour on the shore.

    Three More John Silence Stories | Algernon Blackwood
  • I found her just now sobbing and moaning over Eddie, wishing they were both dead, and all the rest of it.

    Elster's Folly | Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Finding this of no avail, he came to the door of the tent, moaning sadly, and by his gestures seeming to beg for the dead body.

    Man And His Ancestor | Charles Morris
  • Men talked in whispers, save as here and there they passed one lying wounded and moaning.

    God Wills It! | William Stearns Davis

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