Definition of moan in US English:



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

    ‘she gave a low moan of despair’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I could hear her making very subtle moans of pleasure.’
    • ‘His ears began to twitch when they picked up the sound of a soft moan coming from within the rubble.’
    • ‘Until I heard a soft moan and the sound of fabric rustling.’
    • ‘And these are not the howls and moans commonly associated with the cinematic representation of sexual pleasure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her hands clutched feebly around the silky pillowcase and her parched throat just barely managed to utter a low pain filled moan.’
    • ‘I was riding a bike. The fear was still there, coming out of me in a low moan.’
    • ‘They both let out soft moans as waves of pleasure coursed through their bodies.’
    • ‘There was a moment of deadly calm before people began to move, soft moans of pain from all around.’
    • ‘They all were having nightmares and the mental sound of moans and groans rang out in everyone's mind.’
    • ‘Picking up his chopsticks eagerly, he took a bite and gave a low moan of pleasure at its delicious taste.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The figure in there stirred slightly, a low moan sounding.’
    • ‘Her soft moans of pleasure were a welcome sound to his ears as his lips’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When she whispered this Jake let out a low moan as he suddenly felt a white hot pain in his stomach.’
    • ‘The one that had stirred seemed to struggle through a haze to sit up, and finally succeeding, with a low moan of pain.’
    groan, wail, whimper, sob, cry, whine, howl, lament, lamentation, keen
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    1. 1.1 A sound resembling this, especially one made by the wind.
      ‘the moan of the wind in the chimneys’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The lower notes especially sound like soft and breathy human or animal moans.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Just granite, ice, and the eerie moan of the wind whenever we stopped.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The noise sounded like a soft moan and echoed through the silence that surrounded the house.’
      • ‘Outside the gale force wind shrieks and moans as it whistles around the house and rain lashes the window panes.’
      • ‘It's during this time that male humpbacks emit vocalizations that sound, at least to human ears, like barks, chirps, and moans.’
      • ‘A howling moan, like storm winds rattling windows, came from the charging creatures.’
      • ‘For a moment the only sound in the room was the moan of the wind as it rushed past the frost-glazed windows.’
      • ‘Amongst the moans of the wind, they hear a keening wail that sets her hairs standing up.’
      • ‘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 room was empty and, except for the occasional moans of the wind, there was no sound.’
      • ‘The rattling resumed, louder, and over the noise came the unmistakeable moan of something out of this world.’
      sough, sigh, murmur, whisper, groan
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    2. 1.2informal A complaint that is perceived as trivial and not taken seriously by others.
      ‘there were moans about the car's feeble ventilation’
      • ‘I can understand their moans and groans about one or two refereeing decisions, but they blew it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You could hear the moans and groans when it was mentioned that five individuals had tied at 37 points.’
      • ‘Yet, despite the moans and groans, few people would ultimately argue against the need for employment rights.’
      • ‘There have been moans and groans about the conditions in the cells but we have a responsibility to keep them to Home Office guidelines.’
      • ‘There are a few moans and groans of course, but you have that same sense of identity.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I hear many moans and groans from bar, shop and restaurant owners that profits and numbers are getting lower every year.’
      • ‘He somehow remains a lad, despite his moans and groans.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When the draw was made it was met by a few moans and groans from the lads.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The pupils come to me with their moans and groans, but I have heard nothing regarding them being attacked.’
      • ‘And now the moans and groans of the over 50s has been given an airing in a survey.’
      • ‘There were the obligatory moans and groans from the entire class.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘There were moans and groans as people had to sit with ones they dislike.’
      • ‘Despite moans and groans, they complied with orders and continued their journey.’
      complaint, complaining, grouse, grousing, moans and groans, grouch, grouching, grumble, grumbling, whine, whining, carping, muttering, murmur, murmuring, whispering
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[no object]
  • 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 ‘“Oh God,” I moaned’
    • ‘Hundreds of Shiite worshippers, weeping and moaning in grief, beat their chests in mourning.’
    • ‘I peeked open my eyes, moaning at the bright light my room was filled with.’
    • ‘Rapid eye movement is at all times detected, and occasionally the patient will moan, even scream during his rest.’
    • ‘I don't think a web site has actually made me physically moan with anticipation and pleasure before now.’
    • ‘His voice moaned and wailed, expressing the deepest sorrows of a condemned sinner.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Robbie moaned as he opened one of his massive text books.’
    • ‘Panforte, panettone and nougat to drool over and an Italian wine list to make oenophiles moan with pleasure.’
    • ‘Soldiers still moaned from within the human compost, most begging for water or death.’
    • ‘I gently nudged him with my elbow until he moaned and opened his right eye.’
    • ‘She moaned with pleasure she felt so resigned to him.’
    • ‘When she finally awoke she moaned in pleasure rubbing her face against her soft pillow and gripping another pillow in her arms tightly.’
    • ‘In the distances he could hear moaning and wailing.’
    • ‘She's staggering under the weight, moaning and weeping and acting scared.’
    • ‘As he fell and rolled on the ground he moaned and groaned.’
    • ‘She was on the back, the pain so fierce that she moaned.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I moaned, opened my eyes and found myself lying on my back at the foot of a large tree.’
    groan, wail, whimper, sob, cry, whine, howl, keen
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    1. 1.1 (of a thing) make a sound resembling a moan.
      ‘the foghorn moaned at intervals’
      • ‘Amongst these tables, were haphazardly scattered stools, many that moaned unsettlingly and pitched at various intervals.’
      • ‘Even more slowly than before the doors began to open, moaning all the while.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Stopping and walking back, she opened the door which moaned in response.’
      • ‘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.’
      groan, wail, whimper, sob, cry, whine, howl, keen
      sough, sigh, murmur, whisper, groan
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    2. 1.2informal reporting verb Complain or grumble, typically about something trivial.
      no object ‘he joked and moaned about members of his family’
      with clause ‘my husband moans that I'm not as slim as when we first met’
      • ‘I assume it is easier for small-minded people to moan and complain about benefits than actually ask the questions which matter.’
      • ‘However the people who do moan and complain about smokers have no right, there are no smoking areas all over the place!’
      • ‘I would suggest that there is more moaning and groaning than booing, and this is not just in the stands.’
      • ‘I am tired of my husband moaning that every bed he sleeps in is too small.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘We talked about school, friends, family and browsed among all these various topics, usually complaining or moaning about them in some way.’
      • ‘Joking apart, my husband has been moaning at me for weeks to fly to the UK where I would be safe.’
      • ‘He never grumbled or moaned about his illness - he just got on with life.’
      • ‘Sure, I can moan about everything as much as I like, but at the end of the day it's just a job.’
      • ‘Grandpa is still talking about the 30's and Husband is still moaning about his knees.’
      • ‘Are not the children now and the generations to come so much more important than moaning and groaning about change?’
      • ‘Don't sit there moaning and complaining about all the work you've got to do.’
      • ‘He had been the one she complained and moaned to about her parents.’
      • ‘However, I could hear ol Bessie moaning and groaning.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She once took me to a Mums ‘n’ Tots meeting - a bunch of giddy women comparing nappy contents and moaning about their husbands.’
      • ‘Ok, time to stop whingeing, moaning and complaining about my life, cause its not that bad.’
      • ‘Kelly was moaning and complaining about what was going on at her home, and Cat was joking around as usual.’
      • ‘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.’
      complain, grouse, grouch, grumble, whine, carp, mutter, murmur, whisper
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    3. 1.3literary Lament.
      • ‘And again there was weeping and moaning throughout the land for the hero was saddened by his friend's illness.’
      • ‘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.’
      mourn, grieve, grieve for, grieve over, weep for, shed tears for
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Middle English (in the sense ‘complaint or lamentation’): of unknown origin.