plaintive was our Word of the Day on 09/20/2010. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
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
The plaintive appeal -- perhaps the clearest signal yet of business leaders’ frustration with the Brexit process -- comes as May heads into talks with U.K. ministers over what kind of relationship the U.K. wants with the EU.
The music suggests a wistful folk song, cushioned by plaintive harmonies and restless lines in the instruments.
The plaintive sound of the trumpet, especially after dark, gives the Christmas market a fairy-like aura.
Her voice was beautiful and plaintive with the story of her blackness and womanness.
Most critics acknowledged the score’s beautiful moments, especially Cleopatra’s death scene, in which the character’s plaintive lyrical lines are capped by a chilling choral threnody.
Nuthatches sound like a squeak toy, for instance, and chickadees have a plaintive call.
The plaintive scream, Mouw would say, seemed to echo throughout the entire prison, bouncing off the walls and filling every bit of space.
As Wyda made her plaintive phone calls, the first grim foreboding of what was ahead for the nursing home appeared.
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."
Origin and Etymology of plaintive
First Known Use: circa 1570See Words from the same year
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
PLAINTIVE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up plaintive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).