\ 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


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

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Other Words from moan


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

Synonyms for moan

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The moans and whispers of the other prisoners had quieted, like the calm before a storm. David Canfield,, "Read an excerpt from Blood Heir, the year's most controversial YA novel," 17 Oct. 2019 The sound from fans in Wrigleyville were moans as the Chicago faithful felt a collective gut-punch in knowing that their team’s season will likely end without a playoff berth. Tim Brown, oregonlive, "Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals: Live score updates, TV channel, how to watch free live stream online," 22 Sep. 2019 Shortly thereafter, another interruption followed by an abrupt recess when a spectator in the back row of the court made loud moans and fell over. Amber Ali, CBS News, "Roger Stone leaves first day of trial due to food poisoning," 6 Nov. 2019 In a situation of great tension, the imagination could amplify the slightest of noises to a blood-chilling moan. Oscar Urbiola, National Geographic, "How did 18th-century vampire hunters identify the undead? Blood and fingernails," 29 Oct. 2019 From chirps to moans, this vet has your chatty cat’s vocab covered. Kelli Bender,, "Celebrate National Cat Day by Decoding What Your Cat's Different Meows Mean," 29 Oct. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bailey collapsed moaned on the ground as officers searched for a gun and tried to provide medical aid. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Raw body-camera footage of the fatal Colorado Springs police shooting of De’Von Bailey released," 15 Nov. 2019 The head of one of Europe’s biggest banks says (paywall) his peers should stop moaning about negative interest rates, which are seen as squashing profits for the region’s big lenders. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "A bank chief says negative rates may be bad for banks, but good for society," 3 Oct. 2019 Weird moans and howls come from dark corners, damp sponges and hair nets hung from the ceiling touch his face. . . Gillian Brockell, Anchorage Daily News, "The frightening history of Halloween haunted houses," 31 Oct. 2019 The boy moaned, grasped his stomach and vomited after officers arrived. oregonlive, "Mom who left her young kids alone in Gresham motel with meth gets 10 days in jail," 21 Oct. 2019 So obsessed are the Japanese with recycling that Airbnb initially ran aground here after a storm of complaints: Foreigners, many people moaned, simply don’t understand how and when to put the trash out. Simon Denyer,, "Japan wraps everything in plastic. Now it wants to fight against plastic pollution.," 18 June 2019 Mensore dedicates his scant resources to creating a visceral experience, emphasizing the lack of visibility, the gassy haze and the constant, terrifying creaks and moans underground. Noel Murray,, "Reviews: Harrowing disaster thriller ‘Mine 9’; Scott Adkins in ‘Abduction’; and more," 6 June 2019 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

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.

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First Known Use of moan


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

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Time Traveler for moan

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for moan

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Moan.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for moan


How to pronounce moan (audio)

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



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


\ 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


moaned; moaning

Kids Definition of moan (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to utter a long low sound

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More from Merriam-Webster on moan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for moan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with moan

Spanish Central: Translation of moan

Nglish: Translation of moan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moan for Arabic Speakers

Comments on moan

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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