a complaint.
Law. a statement of grievance made to a court for the purpose of asking redress.
a lament; lamentation.

Origin of plaint

1175–1225; Middle English < Middle French < Latin planctus a striking or beating (the breast) in grief, equivalent to plang(ere) to beat, strike, mourn for + -tus, suffix of v. action Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plaint

Historical Examples of plaint

  • "This plaint is thine, as I learn, brother Ambrose," said he.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The plaint of the gravel travelled slowly all round the drive.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • The intonation of the Ungava Eskimos, particularly the women, is like a plaint.

  • He filled the place with his plaint, whilst Binet swore amazingly and variedly.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • I have taken the liberty to give as a title for it "The Plaint of the Merrimac."


    Samuel T. Pickard

British Dictionary definitions for plaint



archaic a complaint or lamentation
law a statement in writing of grounds of complaint made to a court of law and asking for redress of the grievance

Word Origin for plaint

C13: from Old French plainte, from Latin planctus lamentation, from plangere to beat
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 plaint

"expression of sorrow," c.1200, from Old French plainte "lament, lamentation" (12c.), from Latin planctus "lamentation, wailing, beating of the breast," from past participle stem of plangere "to lament, to strike" (see plague (n.)). Connecting notion probably is beating one's breast in grief.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper