mourn·​ing | \ ˈmȯr-niŋ \

Definition of mourning

1 : the act of sorrowing She is still in mourning for her dead husband.
2a : an outward sign (such as black clothes or an armband) of grief for a person's death lots of people there, and only one man in full mourning— Arnold Bennett
b : a period of time during which signs of grief are shown after a long mourning, resume their ordinary dresses— Henry Reed

Examples of mourning in a Sentence

a day of national mourning She is still in mourning for her dead husband. The whole town was in mourning. a period of deep mourning His widow was dressed in mourning.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Nine months after the men’s national team so embarrassingly failed to qualify, the end of the tournament also marks the end of our mourning. Rich Campbell,, "Missing World Cup can't be in vain for U.S. men's national team," 13 July 2018 Trump also officially designated Wednesday as a national day of mourning. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "All the Details on George H. W. Bush's Funeral," 6 Dec. 2018 President Donald Trump issued an executive order appointing December 5 as a national day of mourning. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Here’s what to expect for the national day of mourning on December 5.," 5 Dec. 2018 Families have been shortening their mourning periods, and this year in Kasigluk, the entire community is behind on fishing. Anna Rose Macarthur, Anchorage Daily News, "Recent deaths put an entire village behind on subsistence fishing," 22 June 2018 Shiva is a Jewish mourning period in which the family of the deceased receives visitors in their home, with prayer services conducted each day. Pamela Wood,, "Widow of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz says politics intruded on family's mourning," 12 June 2018 The mourning period for her and others might be brief. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "'Avengers: Infinity War': Why you shouldn't freak out about that death toll (spoilers!)," 29 Apr. 2018 At the same time, having all that time to think about how far away your next shot will be can make the mourning period even harder. Emilia Benton, SELF, "The 6 Tips That Helped Me Get Over a Bad Race and Rebuild My Confidence," 25 Mar. 2018 The library bearing his name, which had been closed during the mourning period, will open Wednesday. Tim Funk, charlotteobserver, "Here’s what visitors will see when the Billy Graham Library reopens | Charlotte Observer," 4 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mourning.' 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 mourning

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for mourning

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for mourning

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

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More Definitions for mourning



English Language Learners Definition of mourning

: the act of mourning for someone who has died

: great sadness felt because someone has died

: black clothing that is worn to show that you are mourning for someone who has died


mourn·​ing | \ ˈmȯr-niŋ \

Kids Definition of mourning

1 : the act of feeling or expressing sorrow
2 : an outward sign (as black clothes or an arm band) of grief for a person's death

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More from Merriam-Webster on mourning

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mourning

Spanish Central: Translation of mourning

Nglish: Translation of mourning for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mourning for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mourning

Comments on mourning

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


to gather or build up little by little

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  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

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