plaintive was our Word of the Day on 09/20/2010. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of plaintive in a Sentence
We could hear the plaintive cry of a wounded animal in the woods.
the puppy's plaintive expression after we put the toy away was rather amusing
Recent Examples of plaintive from the Web
In Ennis’s final soliloquy, after Jack has died (almost surely, as Ennis suspects, from a savage attack by men who know the truth about him), Mr. Wuorinen gets the balance between plaintive expressivity and modernist edginess exactly right.
The work’s spell derives from the tarnished beauty of the house; the plaintive tones of the music; the incessant, unstoppable refrain — a dime-store mantra all the more heartbreaking for its triteness.
But Cole brought a profound sense of longing to his version, his plaintive vocal lines and silvery pianism making the tune an urgent plea, albeit delivered at a decidedly unhurried pace.
The protesters were mostly ignored by Iraq’s political establishment, but Mr. Sadr viewed their demands as an echo of the plaintive calls of his own base for better jobs and government services.
But the plaintive notes of gospel music drifting from speakers and the black bunting draped over a balcony of the building at the center of the activities indicated a more sombre occasion.
Both sentiments Davies drove home with poignant force, evincing genuine anguish and using his beautiful, complex voice to spike even musically cheerful passages with plaintive emotion.
For some visitors to the museum and memorial, seeing the stark and plaintive tributes to the past was painful.
Last week, the Niskanen Center’s Jerry Taylor, a prominent NTR, wrote a somewhat plaintive piece drawing these questions together: Whither Never Trump?
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plaintive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Like its relative "plangent," "plaintive" is often used to describe sad sounds. "A plaintive wail," for example, is a common use. "Plaintive" and "plangent" (along with relatives "plaintiff" and "complain") ultimately derive from the Latin verb plangere, meaning "to strike," "to beat one's breast," or "to lament." This Latin verb led to "plaint," an Anglo-French word (and now also an English word) meaning "lamentation." "Plaint" is the root of Middle English "plaintif" (meaning "lamenting" or "complaining"), which gave rise to "plaintive" as well as the noun "plaintiff."
aching, agonized, anguished, bemoaning, bewailing, bitter, deploring, doleful, dolorous, funeral, grieving, heartbroken, lamentable, lugubrious, mournful, plangent, regretful, rueful, sorrowful, sorry, wailing, weeping, woeful;
black, bleak, cheerless, comfortless, dark, darkening, desolate, dismal, dreary, funereal, gloomy, glum, gray (also grey), joyless, low, miserable, moody, morbid, morose, pathetic, pessimistic, piteous, saturnine, somber (or sombre), sullen;
PLAINTIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of plaintive for English Language Learners
: expressing suffering or sadness : having a sad sound
PLAINTIVE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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