\ 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 moan (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 And that moment is now: With a metallic moan, the weight inches back down the shaft. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, "Gravity-based batteries try to beat their chemical cousins with winches, weights, and mine shafts," 22 Apr. 2021 Inside the fenced park, the morning chatter of birds and geese mingled with the low moan of a helicopter overhead. Los Angeles Times, "It’s the end game for the Echo Park homeless encampment as LAPD prepares final sweep," 25 Mar. 2021 As if in acknowledgement of the fact, the rhino lets out a doleful moan. Henry Nicholls, Scientific American, "Rhinoceros Undergoes Assisted Reproduction to Rescue Species from Extinction," 30 May 2012 That's quieter than the regular CR-V's 78-decibel moan at full throttle. Beth Nichols, Car and Driver, "A 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid Sidles in to Our Long-Term Fleet," 26 Feb. 2021 From the moment her character Martha lets out her first moan until the camera sweeps over her baby’s blue, dying face, this is a series of crescendos and crashes, a shiver-inducing cinematic passage across the River Styx. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, "Pieces of a Woman Hinges on One Heaving, Tremendous Home-Birth Scene," 12 Jan. 2021 The gospel piano and organ juking strike a universal chord, furthered by Morrison’s distinctive moan, the sound of meditation and worry, extended and gathering strength. Armond White, National Review, "Van Morrison Sings for the Voiceless," 2 Dec. 2020 Of course there were the initial screams and the side-splitting moans, sounds that came from some nameless part of her body. Hilary Leichter, Harper's Magazine, "Terrace Story," 25 May 2020 In 2018, a second location opened in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, to predictable wails and moans. Pete Wells, New York Times, "At Sushi Nakazawa, Only the Price Remains the Same," 14 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Yet this was no time to wring our hands and moan about Republicans’ indifference to human suffering. Glamour, "Mazie K. Hirono’s Memoir Is an Epic, Heart-Tugging Journey," 19 Apr. 2021 Clubhouse is known for rooms where people swap stock tips, chat sports or even moan like whales. Washington Post, "We can’t meet new people at bars now. So these NYU grads simulated the bar experience — and it’s wildly popular.," 9 Apr. 2021 The girl would come in late, closing the front door too loudly, and Camila would moan and flip over in her sleep, throwing a heavy little arm over Magdalena's chest. Stephanie Green,, "2019 Algren Awards: Finalist: Host Mother," 20 July 2019 But in the past, when the federal government has pointed out these vulnerabilities—and attempted to protect against them—the states have chafed and moaned. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The 2016 Election Was Just a Dry Run," 11 May 2020 The center feeds them, educates them, entertains them — anything to keep these kids and their parents from showing up as statistics in those grim inequity studies City Hall likes to make and moan over but never seems to act on. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "‘You don’t give up, ever’: How a private school provided sanctuary to a NW Dallas church erased by fall’s tornado," 3 Mar. 2020 What's more, the engine has been revised this year to meet 1985 emissions requirements—a great accomplishment considering the way other exoticar manufacturers moan and groan about meeting current EPA requirements. Michael Jordan, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1982 Maserati Quattroporte," 21 Apr. 2020 The injured passengers began moaning, and others started panicking. Stefanie Dazio, USA TODAY, "Maryland man arrested after Greyhound bus shooting that killed 1, injured 5 in California," 4 Feb. 2020 The injured passengers began moaning, and others started panicking. Stefanie Dazio,, "1 dead, 5 wounded in shooting on Greyhound bus in California," 3 Feb. 2020

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 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Moan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for moan



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
2 : complain

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More from Merriam-Webster on moan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for moan

Nglish: Translation of moan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moan for Arabic Speakers

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