verb (used without object), pined, pin·ing.

to yearn deeply; suffer with longing; long painfully (often followed by for): to pine for one's home and family.
to fail gradually in health or vitality from grief, regret, or longing (often followed by away): Separated by their families, the lovers pined away.
Archaic. to be discontented; fret.

verb (used with object), pined, pin·ing.

Archaic. to suffer grief or regret over.


Archaic. painful longing.

Origin of pine

before 900; Middle English pinen to torture, torment, inflict pain, be in pain; Old English pīnian to torture, derivative of pīn torture (Middle English pine) < Late Latin pēna, Latin poena punishment. See pain

Synonyms for pine

1. See yearn. 2. dwindle, decline, languish, droop, waste. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pining

grieve, crave, hanker, yearn, mourn, ache, desire, brood, agonize, wish, covet, want, sigh, mope, dream, fret

Examples from the Web for pining

Contemporary Examples of pining

Historical Examples of pining

  • This was no morbid sentimentalist; no pining, heart-broken woman.

  • Now let us enter the carriage, for I am just pining to hear what it is you have on hand.

  • I warrant that she is pining away for want of a crust of bread.'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • None of us was pining to hold any sociables with the Malabistos.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • "Evidently you have all been pining for me," says Molly, gayly.

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

British Dictionary definitions for pining




any evergreen resinous coniferous tree of the genus Pinus, of the N hemisphere, with long needle-shaped leaves and brown cones: family PinaceaeSee also longleaf pine, nut pine, pitch pine, Scots pine
any other tree or shrub of the family Pinaceae
the wood of any of these trees
any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as ground pine and screw pine

Word Origin for pine

Old English pīn, from Latin pīnus pine




(intr; often foll by for or an infinitive) to feel great longing or desire; yearn
(intr often foll by away) to become ill, feeble, or thin through worry, longing, etc
(tr) archaic to mourn or grieve for

Word Origin for pine

Old English pīnian to torture, from pīn pain, from Medieval Latin pēna, from Latin poena pain



Courtney. born 1964, British jazz saxophonist and clarinettist
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 pining



"coniferous tree," Old English pin (in compounds), from Old French pin and directly from Latin pinus "pine, pine-tree, fir-tree," perhaps in reference to the sap or pitch, from PIE *peie- "to be fat, swell" (see fat (adj.)). Cf. Sanskrit pituh "juice, sap, resin," pitudaruh "pine tree," Greek pitys "pine tree." Also cf. pitch (n.1). Pine-top "cheap illicit whiskey," first recorded 1858, Southern U.S. slang. Pine-needle (n.) attested from 1866.



Old English pinian "to torture, torment, afflict, cause to suffer," from *pine "pain, torture, punishment," possibly ultimately from Latin poena "punishment, penalty," from Greek poine (see penal). A Latin word borrowed into Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch pinen, Old High German pinon, German Pein, Old Norse pina) with Christianity. Intransitive sense of "to languish, waste away," the main modern meaning, is first recorded early 14c. Related: Pined; pining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper