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
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.
Flower Boy is far from a typical turn-up album, but the audience clung to every word of the rapper’s plaintive confessionals.
The song was recorded by pretty much everybody (including—my favorite—a plaintive 1943 rendition by Benny Goodman and Helen Forrest ).
The music, sparingly used, is dominated by plaintive strings.
Each man had his palms pressed together, as if in prayer; their leader, in plaintive tones, asked Ms. Swaraj to help them return to India as their salaries were being withheld.
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
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