\ 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

groan, wail

Synonyms: Verb

groan, wail

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Examples of moan in a Sentence


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


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

Their sounds—peeps, moans, and donkey-like brays—bounce off the mountains. Janice Wald Henderson, Condé Nast Traveler, "These New Expedition Cruises Take Travelers to the World’s Most Remote Corners," 28 June 2019 When a disc is placed against the duck’s chest, the robot acts out the emotion, unleashing happy chirps or uneasy moans. Peter Holley, Washington Post, "Children battling cancer can’t always express their feelings. Now a robotic duck is doing it for them.," 20 June 2019 Southern and North Atlantic right whales have been documented making gunshot calls, upcalls, downcalls, moans, screams and warbles. Fox News, "Rare whale near Alaska recorded singing for first time," 20 June 2019 Finally, hearing his mother’s distressed moans, Isaac padded out half-asleep and stood swaying on the creaky hardwood floor. Adam O’fallon Price, Harper's magazine, "The Maid’s Story," 10 June 2019 Suddenly, the moans and screams were drowned out by a new sound overhead. Gaia Vince, Quartz, "How to survive in the world’s largest refugee camp," 8 June 2019 There are more sophisticated CVTs (by Nissan and Toyota) that do a better job of delivering power without the unappealing moan of motorboating. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: Forever young," 22 June 2018 There is often a meditative moan at the core of much contemporary Christian rock, but rarely is there a real growl. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "The Grammy Gems You Won’t Hear on ‘Music’s Biggest Night’," 26 Jan. 2018 If Colorado State’s forecast holds true, another busy season could draw a collective moan from South Florida and the Caribbean after a punishing 2017 season. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "How busy will hurricane season be in 2018? This forecast has good news and bad news | Miami Herald," 5 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Who even has the energy left to moan about the ruinous effects of reality television? Washington Post, "Here’s to the class-conflicted, workplace-inappropriate ‘Below Deck’ — TV’s ideal mental vacation," 13 June 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 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. Washington Post, "Japan wraps everything in plastic. Now it wants to fight against plastic pollution.," 18 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 Barges creaked and moaned in the distance as anchor-outs rowed to and from the shore, occasionally stopping to greet each other along the way. Joe Kloc, Harper's magazine, "Lost at Sea," 10 June 2019 The wood gave off a pungent, earthy smell and the wind moaned through the tall oaks and pines. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "The Ultimate Guide To Cutting and Splitting Firewood," 28 Sep. 2018 The woman with the broken leg was on the floor of the boat, and Bryan recalled hearing moans every time the vessel hit a wave. Caleb Jones, The Seattle Times, "Passengers recount moments after lava hit Hawaii tour boat," 24 July 2018 Abyss uses a third party that develops text-to-speech engines; actors read four hours of words, laughs, and moans that an algorithm splices together. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "Are We Ready for Robot Sex?," 13 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near moan








Statistics for moan

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for moan

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

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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

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

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