Definition of moan in English:



  • 1A long, low sound made by a person expressing physical or mental suffering or sexual pleasure.

    ‘she gave a low moan of despair’
    • ‘And these are not the howls and moans commonly associated with the cinematic representation of sexual pleasure.’
    • ‘She blinked a few times, slowly becoming aware of the figure she still clutched to on her left, and a soft moan of pain at her right.’
    • ‘There were farther off sections dedicated to suit the reader's tastes more efficiently, a whole block of gothic and horrifying tales were emitting soft moans and howls.’
    • ‘Picking up his chopsticks eagerly, he took a bite and gave a low moan of pleasure at its delicious taste.’
    • ‘Until I heard a soft moan and the sound of fabric rustling.’
    • ‘The one that had stirred seemed to struggle through a haze to sit up, and finally succeeding, with a low moan of pain.’
    • ‘I was riding a bike. The fear was still there, coming out of me in a low moan.’
    • ‘They all were having nightmares and the mental sound of moans and groans rang out in everyone's mind.’
    • ‘When she whispered this Jake let out a low moan as he suddenly felt a white hot pain in his stomach.’
    • ‘At first he thought it was a moan of pleasure, and he'd pulled her closer to him.’
    • ‘It's very funny, but the camera slowly slides into the next apartment and we realize that the moans aren't sexual ecstasy but horrific pain.’
    • ‘They both let out soft moans as waves of pleasure coursed through their bodies.’
    • ‘The figure in there stirred slightly, a low moan sounding.’
    • ‘There was a moment of deadly calm before people began to move, soft moans of pain from all around.’
    • ‘Her hands clutched feebly around the silky pillowcase and her parched throat just barely managed to utter a low pain filled moan.’
    • ‘I could hear her making very subtle moans of pleasure.’
    • ‘Her soft moans of pleasure were a welcome sound to his ears as his lips’
    • ‘She gave out a low moan, the only sound she could currently force out of her throat, and attempted to raise her hands to massage her throbbing temples.’
    • ‘The shrieks soon became moans and the moans yelps and the yelps intermittent sobbing, and only after an unimaginable amount of time did the sobbing become silence.’
    • ‘His ears began to twitch when they picked up the sound of a soft moan coming from within the rubble.’
    groan, wail, whimper, sob, cry, whine, howl, lament, lamentation, keen
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    1. 1.1A sound resembling a human moan.
      ‘the moan of the wind in the chimneys’
      • ‘It's during this time that male humpbacks emit vocalizations that sound, at least to human ears, like barks, chirps, and moans.’
      • ‘You can stand there and listen to the wind moan, and wonder, Am I really in the presence of the great San Andreas Fault?’
      • ‘The only sound, other than the eerie whistle of the wind, is the moan of prayer horns, blown by maroon-robed monks, which echo ominously across the valley.’
      • ‘And then halfway through the tune, for the bridge, we'd burst into a whale solo, a poor imitation of whale clicks and moans and calls.’
      • ‘A howling moan, like storm winds rattling windows, came from the charging creatures.’
      • ‘The rattling resumed, louder, and over the noise came the unmistakeable moan of something out of this world.’
      • ‘The room was empty and, except for the occasional moans of the wind, there was no sound.’
      • ‘Amongst the moans of the wind, they hear a keening wail that sets her hairs standing up.’
      • ‘Outside the gale force wind shrieks and moans as it whistles around the house and rain lashes the window panes.’
      • ‘The lower notes especially sound like soft and breathy human or animal moans.’
      • ‘The animals' haunting moans and long complex songs - emitted only by males - are apparently used to woo females and to competitively display to rival males.’
      • ‘He took Gonzo's instrument in both hands and blew it gently, resulting in a low moan.’
      • ‘It's an assortment of squeaks, shuffles, buzzers, bells, beeps, blips, barks, sighs, moans, cries, and screams.’
      • ‘The noise sounded like a soft moan and echoed through the silence that surrounded the house.’
      • ‘For a moment the only sound in the room was the moan of the wind as it rushed past the frost-glazed windows.’
      • ‘Just granite, ice, and the eerie moan of the wind whenever we stopped.’
      sough, sigh, murmur, whisper, groan
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  • 2informal A complaint which is perceived as trivial and not taken seriously by others.

    ‘there were moans about the car's feeble ventilation’
    • ‘The pupils come to me with their moans and groans, but I have heard nothing regarding them being attacked.’
    • ‘When the draw was made it was met by a few moans and groans from the lads.’
    • ‘You could hear the moans and groans when it was mentioned that five individuals had tied at 37 points.’
    • ‘Despite moans and groans, they complied with orders and continued their journey.’
    • ‘There are a few moans and groans of course, but you have that same sense of identity.’
    • ‘He somehow remains a lad, despite his moans and groans.’
    • ‘There were moans and groans as people had to sit with ones they dislike.’
    • ‘In fact, to listen to all of the moans and groans, it seems like just about the only thing the rankings got right was the No.1.’
    • ‘These days it's me who inflicts my moans and groans onto my younger friends.’
    • ‘Can we have more imaginative and creative solutions to this problem rather than moans and groans?’
    • ‘I hear many moans and groans from bar, shop and restaurant owners that profits and numbers are getting lower every year.’
    • ‘Yet, despite the moans and groans, few people would ultimately argue against the need for employment rights.’
    • ‘I can understand their moans and groans about one or two refereeing decisions, but they blew it.’
    • ‘Years of moans and groans about the setting of the memorial came to an end this week as scaffolding was removed to reveal the new wall.’
    • ‘There were the obligatory moans and groans from the entire class.’
    • ‘They need to be controlled, irrespective of the moans and groans from those motorists who want to drive where they want at the speed they want.’
    • ‘There have been moans and groans about the conditions in the cells but we have a responsibility to keep them to Home Office guidelines.’
    • ‘Every year it surpasses itself with kitschness and when you see it listed on the television schedule, eyes invariably roll to heaven accompanied by moans and groans of distaste.’
    • ‘And now the moans and groans of the over 50s has been given an airing in a survey.’
    • ‘I'd love it if they'd put up a fight against his nomination, but I seriously doubt they will beyond a few moans and groans for theater.’
    complaint, complaining, grouse, grousing, moans and groans, grouch, grouching, grumble, grumbling, whine, whining, carping, muttering, murmur, murmuring, whispering
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  • 1Make a long, low sound expressing physical or mental suffering or sexual pleasure.

    ‘just then their patient moaned and opened his eyes’
    [with direct speech] ‘‘Help me,’ I moaned’
    • ‘Panforte, panettone and nougat to drool over and an Italian wine list to make oenophiles moan with pleasure.’
    • ‘She's staggering under the weight, moaning and weeping and acting scared.’
    • ‘Rapid eye movement is at all times detected, and occasionally the patient will moan, even scream during his rest.’
    • ‘In the distances he could hear moaning and wailing.’
    • ‘I don't think a web site has actually made me physically moan with anticipation and pleasure before now.’
    • ‘I gently nudged him with my elbow until he moaned and opened his right eye.’
    • ‘I peeked open my eyes, moaning at the bright light my room was filled with.’
    • ‘I moaned, opened my eyes and found myself lying on my back at the foot of a large tree.’
    • ‘She was on the back, the pain so fierce that she moaned.’
    • ‘Robbie moaned as he opened one of his massive text books.’
    • ‘She moaned with pleasure she felt so resigned to him.’
    • ‘Soldiers still moaned from within the human compost, most begging for water or death.’
    • ‘I headed out to the grocery store to buy a crate of limes while the crew was laid out on infirmary cots in the garage, moaning over their painful open sores.’
    • ‘Hundreds of Shiite worshippers, weeping and moaning in grief, beat their chests in mourning.’
    • ‘As he fell and rolled on the ground he moaned and groaned.’
    • ‘When she finally awoke she moaned in pleasure rubbing her face against her soft pillow and gripping another pillow in her arms tightly.’
    • ‘His voice moaned and wailed, expressing the deepest sorrows of a condemned sinner.’
    • ‘For a minute she was angry - to weep and wail and moan at a time like this, when the true victims needed to live on borrowed strength for a while.’
    • ‘The mash had just the right amount of truffle oil and a general richness to make you moan with pleasure and the gravy was unbelievable.’
    groan, wail, whimper, sob, cry, whine, howl, keen
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    1. 1.1Make a sound resembling a human moan.
      ‘the foghorn moaned at intervals’
      • ‘The dam was moaning, opening, unlocking a furtive, unknown world beneath.’
      • ‘The bathroom door moaned slightly as she opened it just enough to allow herself through.’
      • ‘Even more slowly than before the doors began to open, moaning all the while.’
      • ‘Amongst these tables, were haphazardly scattered stools, many that moaned unsettlingly and pitched at various intervals.’
      • ‘She lay frozen on the bed for a moment, straining to hear, above the moaning of the wind, the human sounds that she knew must be present in the room.’
      • ‘Stopping and walking back, she opened the door which moaned in response.’
      groan, wail, whimper, sob, cry, whine, howl, keen
      sough, sigh, murmur, whisper, groan
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    2. 1.2literary Lament.
      ‘we listen to the fierce Achilles moaning for his mistress’
      • ‘When a young poet fails to find the words he can moan and wail and lament his wanton muse, gone off and left him bereft and lonesome.’
      • ‘And again there was weeping and moaning throughout the land for the hero was saddened by his friend's illness.’
  • 2informal [reporting verb] Complain or grumble, typically about something trivial.

    [no object] ‘passengers moaned about overcrowded coaches’
    [with clause] ‘my husband moans that I'm not as slim as when we first met’
    • ‘However, I could hear ol Bessie moaning and groaning.’
    • ‘Kelly was moaning and complaining about what was going on at her home, and Cat was joking around as usual.’
    • ‘She once took me to a Mums ‘n’ Tots meeting - a bunch of giddy women comparing nappy contents and moaning about their husbands.’
    • ‘He had been the one she complained and moaned to about her parents.’
    • ‘I assume it is easier for small-minded people to moan and complain about benefits than actually ask the questions which matter.’
    • ‘Grandpa is still talking about the 30's and Husband is still moaning about his knees.’
    • ‘He never grumbled or moaned about his illness - he just got on with life.’
    • ‘Joking apart, my husband has been moaning at me for weeks to fly to the UK where I would be safe.’
    • ‘It makes me really angry that there are some who moan and complain about exams getting easier based on year-on-year improvements in the results.’
    • ‘We talked about school, friends, family and browsed among all these various topics, usually complaining or moaning about them in some way.’
    • ‘I spent this August moaning and complaining because I felt my life was not as fulfilling as I would like it to be, but why?’
    • ‘I am tired of my husband moaning that every bed he sleeps in is too small.’
    • ‘However the people who do moan and complain about smokers have no right, there are no smoking areas all over the place!’
    • ‘They are not whingeing and moaning like that member, who wants to make a political point.’
    • ‘He had a very well paid, every varying and exclusive job millions of people would kill for and was still moaning and groaning about Matt.’
    • ‘I would suggest that there is more moaning and groaning than booing, and this is not just in the stands.’
    • ‘Don't sit there moaning and complaining about all the work you've got to do.’
    • ‘Sure, I can moan about everything as much as I like, but at the end of the day it's just a job.’
    • ‘Ok, time to stop whingeing, moaning and complaining about my life, cause its not that bad.’
    • ‘Are not the children now and the generations to come so much more important than moaning and groaning about change?’
    complain, grouse, grouch, grumble, whine, carp, mutter, murmur, whisper
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Middle English (in the sense ‘complaint or lamentation’): of unknown origin.