groaned; groaning; groans

intransitive verb

: to utter a deep moan indicative of pain, grief, or annoyance
groaned when she saw the bill
: to make a harsh sound (as of creaking) under sudden or prolonged strain
The chair groaned under his weight.

transitive verb

: to utter or express with groaning
groaned their despair
groan noun

Examples of groan in a Sentence

The wounded man groaned in pain. She groaned when she saw the bill. “Oh, no,” she groaned, “I'm going to have to start all over.” She groaned that she would have to start all over. Merchants are groaning over slow holiday sales. He's always moaning and groaning about his salary. The chair groaned under his weight.
Recent Examples on the Web When the film premiered at SXSW in March, audience members were groaning and cheering at its bloody, shocking finale. Tatiana Siegel, Variety, 3 Apr. 2024 Compared with previous editions, this show groans with good work. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2024 Many Republicans in the chamber groaned and booed at Biden's description of Trump's record. Deirdre Walsh, NPR, 8 Mar. 2024 Jack has exactly one friend, a coworker (Sunil Patel) who exists solely to groan about Jack crawling back to Alice yet again. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 Mar. 2024 January 17, 2024 There was a time when William Tsui, co-owner and beverage director of Oakland’s Viridian, groaned at the thought of making a lychee martini. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 17 Jan. 2024 There’s music in the form of a groaning score, as well as a smattering of noises—faint whispers, rustling leaves—that can be heard through the discordant notes. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 16 Dec. 2023 Another man groaned next to him, hidden by smoke billowing around the cars. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2024 In recent years, drivers across the country have chuckled (or groaned) at the humorous safety messages that have popped up on America’s highways. Michael Levenson, New York Times, 18 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'groan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English gronen, from Old English grānian; akin to Old High German grīnan to growl

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of groan was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near groan

Cite this Entry

“Groan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to utter a deep moan of pain, grief, or irritation
: to make a harsh sound under strain
the chair groaned under my weight
groan noun
groaner noun

More from Merriam-Webster on groan

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