Definition of sigh in English:



  • 1 Emit a long, deep audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or similar.

    ‘Harry sank into a chair and sighed with relief’
    • ‘Tori inwardly sighed with relief that they were on a first name basis once again.’
    • ‘I was actually stunned to silence as I simply sighed deep sighs of admiration.’
    • ‘She waited a few moments, and then sighed in exasperation.’
    • ‘He sighed in annoyance; some incompetent teacher obviously couldn't control their class.’
    • ‘She sighed heavily with relief as the air filled her lungs.’
    • ‘"I would have expected more of a fight from Adakran's boy, " the man sighed with disappointment.’
    • ‘A moment later he sighed in resignation and shoved his cigarettes into his pocket.’
    • ‘For those who sigh wearily at this impossible aspiration there are other solutions.’
    • ‘She sighs with relief when she hears sirens wailing in the distance.’
    • ‘Galen sighed heavily with exasperation and shoved his chair back.’
    • ‘He looked up at the sky with a wistful expression, a gust slightly lifting up his long hair, and sighed.’
    • ‘Smoothing down my shirt, I sighed from lack of sleep and ran my hands through my hair and walked out of my room.’
    • ‘‘Erik…’ she sighed for a long moment before repeating, ‘You aren't acting like yourself,’ she told me, worry in her voice.’
    • ‘Elizabeth sighed wearily as she was woken from her sleep by Joshua crying in his crib.’
    • ‘Trey sighed loudly, rolling his eyes exaggeratedly as he spoke.’
    • ‘Closing her eyes and sighing in defeat, she slowly moved towards the table.’
    • ‘Cael took a deeper breath, sighing in his sleep, turning his head to the side a little.’
    • ‘His trained eyes slid vertically down the paragraph and he sighed in disgust.’
    • ‘Jack sighed and paced through the lobby, attempting to contemplate what to do next.’
    • ‘She sighed in disgust and gathered together any restraint that was left within her.’
    breathe out, exhale
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    1. 1.1(of the wind or something through which the wind blows) make a sound resembling a sigh.
      ‘a breeze made the treetops sigh’
      • ‘The only sound is the scratching of a crow and the sighing of wind through the trees.’
      • ‘The wind sighs in the antlers of a few static deer, a coyote howls.’
      • ‘Barth stood a while in the world of mirrored light, his angry breath calmed with the lilting and sighing of the slow wind.’
      • ‘The wind sighs in the trees, shushing me to sleep.’
      • ‘All he could hear was the wind sighing in the trees and the soft lap of water against the wall surrounding the lake.’
      • ‘The constant wind that hugs the hill-side seems to sigh at the memory.’
      • ‘The heat is not too oppressive, because of the breezes that sigh in from the cool, sparkling Atlantic waters of Table Bay.’
      • ‘A breeze sighed through the branches and we came to a glade, a secret place of fir and silver birch.’
      • ‘The girl could hear the leaves of the trees outside rustle and sigh in the gentle breeze.’
      rustle, whisper, murmur, sough
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    2. 1.2literary Feel a deep yearning for (someone or something lost, unattainable, or distant)
      ‘he sighed for days gone by’
      • ‘The joys of rereading might have offered Mallarme a stronger antidote to his ennui than sighing for distant, exotic lands.’
      • ‘The words she remembered said, ‘My heart cries for you, sighs for you, dies for you.’’
      • ‘Film buffs in Thrissur, tired of watching classics in the DVD format at art house shows, have been sighing for that matchless experience - seeing the magic unfold on the silver screen.’
      • ‘For those of you still sighing for what once was, there's also the bonus material, a handful of live tracks from each Queens lineup.’
      • ‘No harm in it so long as we reserve that precious moment to stand quietly and, when appropriate, give a little sigh for those who are no longer here, who can no longer join in the fun.’
      yearn, long, pine, ache, languish, carry a torch
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  • 1A long, deep audible exhalation expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or similar.

    ‘she let out a long sigh of despair’
    figurative ‘the councils heaved a sigh of relief when they saved over £6m between them’
    • ‘Passengers waiting on the platform breathe a collective sigh of exasperation.’
    • ‘The creature let out what sounded like a tired sigh, dropping down on her haunches.’
    • ‘Klay looked at her and let out a sigh that sounded more like a yawn.’
    • ‘This time, my mother sighed, and although it's hard to tell from a sigh, she sounded angry.’
    • ‘The boy stifled a sigh of annoyance but told himself to remain patient.’
    • ‘She heaves a loud, exasperated sigh, and obviously decides it's futile to argue with me.’
    • ‘He gave off a sigh that sounded like a grumble, but Stephanie didn't seem to have noticed.’
    • ‘They looked at each other for a moment, and then Lisa let out a sigh of what sounded like frustration.’
    • ‘He raises his head, looks at me, then makes a sound that is something between a sigh and a moan.’
    • ‘With a sigh of resignation Matt turned the key and they drove off.’
    • ‘With a sigh of defeat, Razi rose and motioned for Iola to lead.’
    • ‘Fischer heaved a deep, weary sigh and rested his chin in his hands.’
    • ‘I don't expect you to run wailing through the streets but couldn't you rustle up a small sigh of regret?’
    • ‘I heard a loud frustrated sigh on the other end of the door and a loud banging sound.’
    • ‘I sank back in the hot water with a grateful sigh and closed my eyes as the tendrils of steam wound their way across the surface of the pool.’
    • ‘Alya breathed a heavy sigh of contentment as she washed herself with the wonderfully warm water.’
    • ‘At Joel's silent answer, Jesse sighed a sigh of regret and anger.’
    • ‘He let an exasperated sigh escape his lips, what had he done now?’
    • ‘She continued to improve and her family heaved a sigh of relief and started limping back towards normalcy.’
    • ‘You could almost hear the disappointed sighs echoing around the audience.’
    breath, breathing out
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    1. 1.1A gentle sound resembling a sigh, especially one made by the wind.
      ‘except for the sigh of the wind, it was very quiet’
      • ‘The only sound was the sigh of the wind across the Pripyat marshes, accelerating to a low moan among the squat blocks of flats.’
      • ‘All the hidden excitement that had been fluttering within her died like the flame of a candle with the sigh of a cold wind.’
      • ‘The later acoustic-led Thumbing My Way is a sigh on a desert wind.’
      • ‘For a moment I only stood where I was, listening to the gurgle of the water and the sighs of the wind.’
      • ‘The gentle whispering of the brook and the sighs of the leaves in the trees were so soft and enchanting that it was difficult for Lysje not to curl up in a ball and fall asleep right here.’
      • ‘He could only hear the sigh of the wind flowing through the broken windows and the shrieks of birds.’
      • ‘I knew you would come to me, in the colours of dreams, in the songs of the rain, in the sighs of the wind.’


Middle English (as a verb): probably a back-formation from sighte, past tense of siche, sike, from Old English sīcan.