a. A low, sustained, mournful cry, usually indicative of sorrow or pain.
b. A similar sound: the eerie moan of the night wind.
2. A complaint: his tiresome moans about his boss.
v. moaned, moan·ing, moans
a. To utter a moan or moans.
b. To make a sound resembling a moan: A saxophone moaned in the background.
2. To complain, lament, or grieve: an old man who still moans about his misspent youth.
1. To bewail or bemoan: She moaned her misfortunes to anyone who would listen.
2. To utter with moans or a moan.
[Middle English mone, from Old English *mān; see mei-no- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.