la·​ment | \ lə-ˈment \
lamented; lamenting; laments

Definition of lament

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to mourn aloud : wail nightingales lament without ceasing— L. P. Smith

transitive verb

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



Definition of lament (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a crying out in grief : wailing
2 : dirge, elegy
3 : complaint

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Synonyms & Antonyms for lament

Synonyms: Verb

bemoan, bewail, deplore, grieve (for), mourn, wail (for)

Synonyms: Noun

groan, howl, keen, lamentation, moan, plaint, wail

Antonyms: Verb

delight, exult (in), glory (in), joy, rejoice (in)

Antonyms: Noun

exultation, rejoicing

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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


She lamented over the loss of her best friend. “I've lost my best friend!” she lamented.


The poem is a lament for a lost love. the national lament that was heard when President Kennedy was assassinated
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Halverson is among many sources who over the past several months have lamented to IndyStar about the state of Indiana's environment and its effects on public health. Emily Hopkins, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana has a polluted reputation. Here's how bad it is.," 19 Apr. 2018 Actor Jason Clarke, who plays Kennedy in the movie, has publicly lamented its shutout from such liberal TV programs as The Rachel Maddow Show and Real Time With Bill Maher. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Chappaquiddick: How to spin a movie about spin?," 19 Apr. 2018 In an interview with FastCompany last year, game developer Raw Fury lamented that the Apple TV version of its fairly successful indie game Kingdom: New Lands had only sold 600 copies, compared to 54,000 on iOS and 35,000 on Xbox One. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "What developers say Apple needs to do to make the Apple TV a gaming console," 13 Oct. 2018 Rather than lamenting this fact, democratic socialists should capitalize on it. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Ocasio-Cortez Proved That ‘Identity Politics’ Is an Asset For Berniecrats," 27 June 2018 Meghan Markle is a style icon the world over, and her love of super wearable, everyday footwear is a godsend for anyone who's ever lamented the lack of comfortable but chic shoes for the office. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle’s Royal Tour Pumps Just Hit Nordstrom and They’re Super Affordable," 25 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, even as liberal analysts and activists lament some of Tuesday’s outcomes, not only the President, but groups like Susan B. Anthony List, which promotes antiabortion women candidates for public office, are claiming victory. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "This Is How Women Voted in the Midterms—and What It Means for Election 2020," 12 Nov. 2018 Some analysts have been lamenting slow growth in the smartphone segment. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Services drove Apple’s best third quarter ever, but iPhone sales aren’t growing," 1 Aug. 2018 Inscribed on it were not only a cross but also the words of Gov. White’s daughter, Eleanor Dare, lamenting the deaths in 1591 of her husband and the infant Virginia at the hands of Indians. A. Roger Ekirch, WSJ, "‘The Secret Token’ Review: America’s First Unsolved Mystery," 17 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So many of our stories are laments: the last maître d’, the closing of iconic restaurant after iconic restaurant. Devra First,, "What’s on the menu at Falmouth’s Buffalo Jump? ‘Weird food that only weirdos like’," 11 July 2018 The stage is set for a courtroom melodrama crawling with straw-man atheists, pseudo-introspective laments and specious arguments concerning the separation of church and state. Justin Chang,, "A Christian critic wrestles with new biblical films and the hope of a better 'faith-based' cinema," 30 Mar. 2018 All photos courtesy of Carado Peruse any camper forum—or Facebook group—and you’ll notice a common lament: Why does Europe get all of the innovative campers? Megan Barber, Curbed, "Compact camper van fits a bathroom, sleeps two," 27 Nov. 2018 His wife is on him to tone it down, plus free-throw groaning and rebound laments are pretty tame. Carolyn Hax, The Seattle Times, "Worried that her husband’s decision to order a burger could be a sign of dementia," 24 July 2018 In fact, as a lead singer, JJ Julius Son was akin to a bluesy Eddie Vedder rather than Robert Plant or Chris Cornell. Ballads and laments suited his murmuring tenderness. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 4: In Real Life, Kaleo, Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and more," 30 June 2018 Among Democratic bosses who weren’t watching soccer, laments and cries were heard when Kennedy’s retirement was confirmed. John Kass,, "It's a bad week to be a Democratic boss," 27 June 2018 But something about Michael's doomsday lament — rooted in a young man's naivete, but also in a scientifically accurate view of the planet — nonetheless takes root deep within Toller, feeding on his own despair. Justin Chang,, "The bracing 'First Reformed,' starring a superb Ethan Hawke, resurrects Paul Schrader's career," 17 May 2018 And at the very outside of the cycle comes music that draws most tellingly on traditions of lament and consolation. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Brownlee unveils a new song cycle on themes of race and hope," 1 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lament.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lament


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lament

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for lament

Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lament

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

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More Definitions for lament



English Language Learners Definition of lament

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something



English Language Learners Definition of lament (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : an expression of sorrow especially : a song or poem that expresses sorrow for someone who has died or something that is gone


la·​ment | \ lə-ˈment \
lamented; lamenting

Kids Definition of lament

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to mourn aloud : wail
2 : to express great sorrow or regret for He lamented the disappearance of his dog.



Kids Definition of lament (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a crying out in great sorrow
2 : a sad song or poem

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More from Merriam-Webster on lament

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lament

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lament

Spanish Central: Translation of lament

Nglish: Translation of lament for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lament for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lament

Comments on lament

What made you want to look up lament? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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