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la·​ment lə-ˈment How to pronounce lament (audio)
lamented; lamenting; laments

intransitive verb

: to mourn aloud : wail
nightingales lament without ceasingL. P. Smith

transitive verb

: to express sorrow, mourning, or regret for often demonstratively : mourn
… must regret the imprudence, lament the result …Jane Austen
: to regret strongly
He lamented his decision not to go to college.


2 of 2


: a crying out in grief : wailing
Choose the Right Synonym for lament

deplore, lament, bewail, bemoan mean to express grief or sorrow for something.

deplore implies regret for the loss or impairment of something of value.

deplores the breakdown in family values

lament implies a profound or demonstrative expression of sorrow.

lamenting the loss of their only child

bewail and bemoan imply sorrow, disappointment, or protest finding outlet in words or cries, bewail commonly suggesting loudness, and bemoan lugubriousness.

fans bewailed the defeat
purists bemoaning the corruption of the language

Examples of lament in a Sentence

Verb She lamented over the loss of her best friend. “I've lost my best friend!” she lamented. Noun The poem is a lament for a lost love. the national lament that was heard when the beloved singer perished in the crash
Recent Examples on the Web
One of them, Paige Bueckers of UConn, has lamented this publicly. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 Divine Styles laments that his stand is always on the move, most recently forced out of his old spot by the new Victoria hotel. Ken Makin, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Feb. 2024 Many observers have lamented social media’s role in spreading far-right ideas and conspiracy theories, radicalizing scores of Americans. TIME, 5 Feb. 2024 Some people lament the number of waiting lists these days, for everything from getting brain surgery to meeting the Pope. Jack Handey, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 This week, Usher delivers a smooth break-up ballad, Lil Yachty laments his Sunday scaries, and the Last Dinner Party offer a ferocious take on generational trauma. Rolling Stone, 2 Feb. 2024 Even Sissie Hsiao, Google VP and General Manager for Google Assistant and Bard, has lamented AI’s inability to solve the complications of summer camp registration. Kathy Pham, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 While the Lakers were satisfied with their effort without LeBron James, the Clippers lamented their sloppiness, a sign of how much wider their margins are than the Lakers at the midpoint of the year. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2024 For many years, across multiple administrations, Pentagon officials have lamented their inability to share information with other countries and commercial partners. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 24 Jan. 2024
That’s the upshot of the Journal article that inspired his lament. Noah Rothman, National Review, 23 Jan. 2024 The pope’s remark came during an annual foreign policy address to diplomats accredited to the Holy See which traditionally serves as a lament for all the world’s conflicts and injustices. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 8 Jan. 2024 Privately, some on the left lament that Twitter’s suspension of Mr. Trump’s account — after the Jan. 6 attack — served only to remove him from view. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, 16 Jan. 2024 Her only lament was that the formula didn’t help tame her frizz. Sophie Dodd, Peoplemag, 14 Jan. 2024 The Vespers are a monumental compendium of styles: Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, operatic laments, courtly dance, intimate vocal games in a madrigal vein. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 22 Dec. 2023 There was a fin de siècle quality to the atmosphere, curls of smoke emanating from shashlik grills, a warm breeze delivering the lament of a distant violin. Elettra Pauletto, Harper's Magazine, 11 Dec. 2023 MacGowan sings this story not as a lament but rather a celebration of life, content in the belief that there will be a reunion of the departed somewhere down the road. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 Many Ukrainians, in online messages, echoed Mr. Zelensky’s lament about the Soviet-era practices that contributed to the deaths. Maria Varenikova, New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English lementen, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French lamenter, from Latin lamentari, from lamentum, noun, lament

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lament was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near lament

Cite this Entry

“Lament.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
la·​ment lə-ˈment How to pronounce lament (audio)
: to mourn aloud : wail
: to express sorrow for : bewail


2 of 2 noun
: a crying out in grief
: a mournful song or poem

More from Merriam-Webster on lament

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