plan·​gent | \ ˈplan-jənt How to pronounce plangent (audio) \

Definition of plangent

1 : having a loud reverberating sound a plangent roar
2 : having an expressive and especially plaintive quality plangent lyrics

Other Words from plangent

plangently adverb

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Plangent adds power to our poetry and prose: the pounding of waves, the beat of wings, the tolling of a bell, the throbbing of the human heart, a lover's knocking at the door—all have been described as plangent. The word plangent traces back to the Latin verb plangere, which has two meanings. The first of those meanings, "to strike or beat," was sometimes used by Latin speakers in reference to striking one's breast in grief. This, in turn, led to the verb's second meaning: "to lament." The sense division carried over to the Latin adjective plangens and then into English, giving us the two distinct meanings of plangent: "pounding" and "expressive of melancholy."

Examples of plangent in a Sentence

a plangent, haunting song about a long-ago love plangent organ music filled the church
Recent Examples on the Web The piercing sense of place that Samuel D. Hunter brings to his work, the majority of it set in his home state of Idaho, has perhaps never been accompanied by such plangent notes of sorrow as in his new play, Greater Clements. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Dec. 2019 Image The pool party is a squirmy tour de force embellished with a punctuating zoom and a plangent sense of dread that make Kayla’s isolation feel like alienation. Bo Burnham, New York Times, 11 July 2018 Though a handful of tracks feature plangent cello by Katinka Kleijn (a member of the CSO and ICE), who shades the chord changes and enriches the interplay, most of the album is just two guitars ringing out with relaxed, natural beauty. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, 12 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plangent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of plangent

1666, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plangent

Latin plangent-, plangens, present participle of plangere to strike, lament — more at plaint

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The first known use of plangent was in 1666

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plangent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of plangent

: loud, deep, and often sad

More from Merriam-Webster on plangent

Nglish: Translation of plangent for Spanish Speakers


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