sigh

[ sahy ]
/ saɪ /

verb (used without object)

to let out one's breath audibly, as from sorrow, weariness, or relief.
to yearn or long; pine.
to make a sound suggesting a sigh: sighing wind.

verb (used with object)

to express or utter with a sigh.
to lament with sighing.

noun

the act or sound of sighing.

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Origin of sigh

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English sighen, back formation from sihte sighed, past tense of Middle English siken, sichen, Old English sīcan to sigh; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.

OTHER WORDS FROM sigh

sigh·er, nounout·sigh, verb (used with object)un·sigh·ing, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH sigh

side sighedsighs size (see synonym study at size1)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does sigh mean?

Sigh, an audible exhalation, conveys a broad range of emotions from sadness and disappointment to sarcasm and relief. People frequently write it out online to express such sentiments.

Where does sigh come from?

We’ve been sighing long before it was written down. It was first recorded around the 1300s as both a noun and a verb. In Middle English literature, we see many sighs in longing for love, for instance, or other worldly woes.

As online writing can’t always convey tone, typing out sigh became particularly useful and common as the internet took off in the 1990s–2000s. So much so, in fact, that in the 2000s, the mock French le sigh—with le a French article for “the”—became a humorous way to show frustration, weariness, or other emotions.

How is sigh used in real life?

In digital communication, people write out sigh in commentary on–or reaction to–various content. It is also used to mark the tone on a post or message.

Often, sigh written just as sigh after a remark or on its own. It may also be written as *sigh*, the asterisks acting like stage directions. Some even write le sigh for emphasis or irony.

Internet sigh’s are as versatile as real-life sighs, and they’ve migrated from social media to web article headlines. They can be issued in complaint, annoyance, disappointment, resignation, even wistful yearning.

 

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for sigh

British Dictionary definitions for sigh

sigh
/ (saɪ) /

verb

(intr) to draw in and exhale audibly a deep breath as an expression of weariness, despair, relief, etc
(intr) to make a sound resembling thistrees sighing in the wind
(intr often foll by for) to yearn, long, or pine
(tr) to utter or express with sighing

noun

the act or sound of sighing

Derived forms of sigh

sigher, noun

Word Origin for sigh

Old English sīcan, of obscure origin
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