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How to pronounce plaintive (audio)

Dictionary definition of plaintive

Mournful, sorrowful, and expressing a sense of sadness, longing, or wistfulness.
"The plaintive notes of the cello echoed through the concert hall."

Detailed meaning of plaintive

When a sound or voice is described as plaintive, it implies a deep and heartfelt emotion, often associated with lamentation or the expression of sadness and grief. This term conveys a sense of melancholy and may evoke feelings of sympathy or empathy in those who hear it. For example, a plaintive melody played on a violin might evoke a sense of longing and melancholy, or a person's plaintive voice may indicate their deep emotional distress. "Plaintive" underscores the idea of a mournful and soulful quality, often connected to the expression of deep emotions, particularly sadness and sorrow.

Example sentences containing plaintive

1. The singer's plaintive voice filled the concert hall with raw emotion.
2. The dog let out a plaintive howl, expressing its loneliness.
3. She played a plaintive melody on the violin, evoking a sense of longing.
4. The child's plaintive cries could be heard from the next room.
5. The poem was filled with plaintive words, expressing deep sorrow.
6. The artist captured a plaintive expression on the subject's face in the painting.

History and etymology of plaintive

The adjective 'plaintive' finds its etymological roots in the Latin word 'plangere,' which means 'to lament' or 'to mourn.' This Latin term gave rise to the Old French word 'plaintif,' which signified 'lamenting' or 'mournful.' Over time, as Old French influenced Middle English, 'plaintif' evolved into the Middle English 'plaintive,' retaining its sense of describing something mournful or sorrowful. Thus, 'plaintive' is deeply rooted in the idea of expressing sadness or longing, capturing the essence of a lamenting and wistful tone in its modern usage.

Quiz: Find the meaning of plaintive

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Further usage examples of plaintive

1. The wind carried the plaintive sound of a distant train whistle.
2. The old man's eyes had a plaintive look, reflecting years of sadness.
3. The abandoned house had a plaintive air, as if it held forgotten stories.
4. The bird's plaintive song echoed through the forest, creating a melancholic atmosphere.
5. She spoke in a plaintive tone, revealing her heartache.
6. The violinist played a plaintive tune, moving the audience to tears.
7. The abandoned puppy let out a plaintive whimper, seeking attention.
8. The abandoned playground had a plaintive aura, devoid of laughter and play.
9. The character's plaintive monologue touched the hearts of the audience.
10. The plaintive wind chimes swayed gently in the breeze, producing a mournful melody.
11. The photograph captured a moment of plaintive beauty, frozen in time.
12. The actor delivered a plaintive performance, conveying the character's deep sadness.
13. The abandoned piano emitted a plaintive sound when touched, as if longing to be played again.
14. The poem's final stanza ended with a plaintive plea for love and understanding.



sorrowful, cheerful, happy, joyful


SAT 2 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Discomfort and Distress, Sadness and Misery

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