moan

noun
\ ˈmōn How to pronounce moan (audio) \

Definition of moan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : lamentation, complaint … made a great moan if he had to work …— D. H. Lawrence
2 : a low prolonged sound of pain or of grief a moan of distress

moan

verb
moaned; moaning; moans

Definition of moan (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bewail audibly : lament
2 : to utter with moans

intransitive verb

2a : to make a moan : groan
b : to emit a sound resembling a moan the wind moaned in the trees

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from moan

Verb

moaner \ ˈmō-​nər How to pronounce moaner (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for moan

Synonyms: Noun

groan, wail

Synonyms: Verb

groan, wail

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of moan in a Sentence

Noun

She let out a long, deep moan. the moan of the wind the moan of the car's engine

Verb

The wounded soldier moaned in pain. He moaned with pleasure as she rubbed his back. We were all moaning about the cold, rainy weather. He's always moaning about his salary. The children were moaning and groaning all morning, but their mother would not let them go outside. I'm tired of all his moaning and groaning about his salary. “But I don't want to go,” moaned the boy. The wind moaned in the trees.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But researchers have documented unique low-frequency calls from the Gulf of Mexico whales, including a long low moan. Sara Sneath, al, "Feds list Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whales as endangered," 12 Apr. 2019 Males are known to emit a songs of complex melodies, comprised of moans, cries and chirps, and their choruses can last for hours at a time. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Found: A Hub Where Humpback Whales Share Their Songs," 12 Sep. 2019 The singer, best known for his work with British post-punk band Bauhaus, helped codify the sound of goth music with his grim moan and melancholy lyrics. Randall Robertsstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Goth legend Peter Murphy hospitalized after suffering heart attack," 14 Aug. 2019 Sometimes people’s response to my being from New Orleans is a sound—moans, gasps of memory, which generally precede their stories of the city, usually characterized as wonderful, singular, sometimes bewitching. Sarah M. Broom, The New Yorker, "Who Stays Gone, and Who Can Afford to Return," 12 Aug. 2019 Over abstract backing tracks that replaced conventional beats with moans, squeals and muffled roars, the artist played his part almost too well. Kevin Williams, chicagotribune.com, "Pitchfork Music Fest 2019: What we loved and what we could do without on day 3," 21 July 2019 Superballs mounted on bamboo skewers made the piano moan and groan. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Carlsbad Music Festival brings diverse mix of unusual music," 4 Aug. 2019 In Lyuh’s deft hands, its piercing moan sounded more like a blues guitar than any of those. Zoë Madonna, BostonGlobe.com, "Bang on a Can turns up the volume with LOUD Weekend at Mass MoCA," 3 Aug. 2019 White and his fellow frontman and guitarist Brendan Benson teased out the opening guitar lines, injecting the melody with more rattle and moan, before the riff finally kicked into gear. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Raconteurs with Jack White rock Milwaukee for the first time at sold-out Eagles Ballroom show," 15 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The only sound was the wind moaning through the pine trees. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, "A 42,000-Year-Old Man Finally Goes Home," 23 Aug. 2019 Mrs May’s former aides moan that figures such as Philip Hammond, her chancellor, hamstrung the prime minister by refusing to play along with her pantomime preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The Economist, "Boris Johnson is looking like Theresa May 2.0," 8 Aug. 2019 Searching Bailey, who can be heard moaning in the video, the officers find a gun and cut his pants off to secure the weapon. Hollie Silverman And Theresa Waldrop, CNN, "Family of man shot in the back by police in Colorado call for independent investigation," 15 Aug. 2019 Some listened dreamily with eyes closed; some squirmed, others were completely ecstatic, entranced; still others were demonstrative, ringing [sic] their hands and moaning softly in obvious bids for attention. Los Angeles Times, "From the Archives: Frank Sinatra at the Hollywood Bowl," 13 Aug. 2019 The show includes 80 life-size dinosaurs moaning in a darkened exposition center, familiar to many families as the site of Palm Beach County’s public school graduations. Lois K. Solomon, sun-sentinel.com, "They’re not extinct in West Palm Beach: Dinosaur theme park draws thousands | PHOTOS," 17 Aug. 2019 Bailey soon collapsed and moaned as officers handcuffed him. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Video shows Colorado Springs police shoot De’Von Bailey in the back as he runs away," 15 Aug. 2019 Dolphins click, whales moan, walruses bellow and seals bark. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Listen to a Seal Sing the Star Wars Theme and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’," 25 June 2019 The lion approaches my tent and moans on the opposite side of a gauzy screen, 10 feet from my head. Ken Geiger, National Geographic, "Why walking safaris are the best way to see wildlife," 17 June 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of moan

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for moan

Noun and Verb

Middle English mone, from Old English *mān

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about moan

Dictionary Entries near moan

Moab

Moabite

Moabitic

moan

moanful

moaningly

moano

Statistics for moan

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for moan

The first known use of moan was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for moan

moan

noun

English Language Learners Definition of moan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long, low sound that someone makes because of pain, unhappiness, or physical pleasure
: a long, low sound
British, informal : a complaint about something

moan

verb

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

: to make a long, low sound because of pain, unhappiness, or physical pleasure
: to express unhappiness about something
: to say (something) in a way that shows pain or unhappiness

moan

noun
\ ˈmōn How to pronounce moan (audio) \

Kids Definition of moan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a long low sound showing pain or grief
2 : a long low sound the engine's moan

moan

verb
moaned; moaning

Kids Definition of moan (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to utter a long low sound
2 : complain

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on moan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with moan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for moan

Spanish Central: Translation of moan

Nglish: Translation of moan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moan for Arabic Speakers

Comments on moan

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

WORD OF THE DAY

tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!