Definition of plaintive
: expressive of suffering or woe : melancholy a plaintive sigh
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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
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
Middle English plaintif grieving, from Anglo-French pleintif, plaintif, from plaint
First Known Use: circa 1570
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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