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
That’s because the sound that alerts them to an attack isn’t the plaintive voice of the victim.
The plaintive stance is an easy match for Bieber’s musical and meta-musical identities—
Louis Ski Carr delivers a plaintive, heart-wrenching performance when called to the witness stand in his own defense.
Each Sunday, for seven years now, Game of Thrones has invited viewers into an alternate reality that is so meticulously constructed that, for the hour, at least, the real world—with its own intrigues and injustices and plaintive music—falls away.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Like a plaintive wail, the roar of racecars rumbled in the distance.
Granted, nobody has seen a pig quite like this before, but something about the rendering -- with those big plaintive eyes -- isn't quite kosher.
Her achingly vulnerable songs – sung in a plaintive, slightly reedy voice that Knitel channels – tell a story of love and loss that mirrors King’s own.
His Third Symphony represented a stylistic breakthrough: austerely plaintive, emotionally direct and steeped in medieval modes.
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
Synonymsaching, agonized, anguished, bemoaning, bewailing, bitter, deploring, doleful, dolesome, dolorous, funeral, grieving, heartbroken, lamentable, lugubrious, mournful, plangent, regretful, rueful, sorrowful, sorry, wailing, weeping, woeful
Related Wordsdirgelike, elegiac (also elegiacal), melancholy; dejected, depressed, despondent, disconsolate, dispirited, downcast, downhearted, heartsick, heartsore, inconsolable, tearful; brokenhearted, careworn, crestfallen, downcast, downhearted, forlorn, gloomy, glum, low-spirited, miserable, sad, triste, unhappy, woebegone; bawling, crying, groaning, howling, keening, moaning, yammering; bleeding, suffering; 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, wretched
Near Antonymsdelighted, exulting, glorying, happy, joyful, rejoicing, triumphant; bright, cheerful, cheering, cheery; laughing, smiling; blissful, blithe, blithesome, buoyant, jocund, jolly, joyous, lighthearted, merry, mirthful; encouraging, hopeful, optimistic; ecstatic, elated, euphoric, exhilarated, giddy, heady, rapturous, rhapsodic (also rhapsodical)
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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