\ 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

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 What Happens Live host asks his son, who replies with an affirming moan. Georgia Slater,, 25 Nov. 2021 And that moment is now: With a metallic moan, the weight inches back down the shaft. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, 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, 25 Mar. 2021 As if in acknowledgement of the fact, the rhino lets out a doleful moan. Henry Nicholls, Scientific American, 30 May 2012 That's quieter than the regular CR-V's 78-decibel moan at full throttle. Beth Nichols, Car and Driver, 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, 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, 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, 25 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Astros broke up the no-hot bid in the eighth when pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz hit a blooper that fell just in front of of left fielder Eddie Rosario, who got a late jump on the ball, causing the sellout crowd of 42,898 to moan. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, 30 Oct. 2021 At highway speeds, the slightest throttle provocation causes the CVT to lower the drive ratio, which in turn causes the revs to jump and the engine to moan. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 22 Sep. 2021 Finally, as Wilson continued to perform CPR, Carmella vomited and started to moan slightly. Ann W. Schmidt, Fox News, 21 July 2021 Mona Mireles, the unemployed young protagonist of Elizabeth Gonzalez James' hilarious debut novel, has plenty to moan about. Jenny Shank, Star Tribune, 26 June 2021 Talking tough on crime is proving a winning formula for former NYPD captain Eric Adams as progressives moan. Kyle Smith, National Review, 21 June 2021 Troopers later punch Greene in the face, drag him briefly by his shackled ankles and leave him to moan alone while handcuffed for more than nine minutes, the AP reported. Washington Post, 22 May 2021 These tics may be vocal, such as a simple sound like a grunt or moan, or more complex, like a word or phrase. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 31 May 2021 No lumpy four-banger flatulence here, but rather that throaty Mercedes moan that defies the ear to determine whether the powerplant is a V-16, a straight eight, or a flat twin. Brock Yates, Car and Driver, 18 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near moan




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Statistics for moan

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Moan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 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
: 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 : complain
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on moan

Nglish: Translation of moan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of moan for Arabic Speakers


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