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.


the act or sound of sighing.

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.
Related formssigh·er, nounout·sigh, verb (used with object)un·sigh·ing, adjective
Can be confusedside sighedsighs size (see synonym study at size1) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sigh

Contemporary Examples of sigh

Historical Examples of sigh

  • He wears the look of one who is gnawed with envy, and he heaves the sigh of despair.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "I am sorry you couldn't agree with Halbert Davis, Robert," she said, with a sigh.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "I don't know that I've ever found it so," Katherine replied with a sigh.


    William J. Locke

  • The greetings of friends on the platforms at the different stations only made him sigh.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • "You're very kind," said Aunt Frank, with a sigh of bewildered relief.

British Dictionary definitions for sigh



(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


the act or sound of sighing
Derived Formssigher, 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

Word Origin and History for sigh

mid-13c., probably a Middle English back-formation from sighte, past tense of Old English sican "to sigh," perhaps echoic of the sound of sighing. Related: Sighed; sighing.


early 14c., from sigh (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper