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[luh-ment] /ləˈmɛnt/
verb (used with object)
to feel or express sorrow or regret for:
to lament his absence.
to mourn for or over.
verb (used without object)
to feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret.
to mourn deeply.
an expression of grief or sorrow.
a formal expression of sorrow or mourning, especially in verse or song; an elegy or dirge.
1520-30; (noun) < Latin lāmentum plaint; (v.) < Latin lāmentārī, derivative of lāmentum
Related forms
lamenter, noun
lamentingly, adverb
1, 2. bewail, bemoan, deplore. 3, 4. grieve, weep. 5. lamentation, moan. 6. monody, threnody. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for laments
  • Well-meaning laments about violence in the media usually leave me wanting to bash someone upside the head with a tire iron.
  • Further, the article also laments the fact that power consumption hasn't been going down.
  • The main problem he laments is the failure to use pricing to balance supply and demand.
  • Shepherd laments the many contributors to poor modern diets-fast-food companies conspicuous among them.
  • For all the laments over partisan media, there are actually ways in which it is a check on this sort of blindness.
  • Nor are the laments about the power of football programs, and ambitious coaches willing to do anything to advance their careers.
  • The poet laments his inability to express the inexpressible.
  • On a darkened set of bleachers behind him a vague chorus laments the donkey's fate.
  • He neither celebrates nor laments his lost culture, as if somehow it had never had been his own.
  • One laments a wrong direction in policy and calls for a path back to the right track.
British Dictionary definitions for laments


to feel or express sorrow, remorse, or regret (for or over)
an expression of sorrow
a poem or song in which a death is lamented
Derived Forms
lamenter, noun
lamentingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin lāmentum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for laments



mid-15c., back-formation from lamentation or else from Middle French lamenter "to moan, bewail" (14c.) and directly from Latin lamentari, from lamentum (see lamentation). Related: Lamented; lamenting.


1590s, from Middle French lament and directly from Latin lamentum (see lamentation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for laments


a nonnarrative poem expressing deep grief or sorrow over a personal loss. The form developed as part of the oral tradition along with heroic poetry and exists in most languages. Examples include Deor's Lament, an early Anglo-Saxon poem, in which a minstrel regrets his change of status in relation to his patron, and the ancient Sumerian "Lament for the Destruction of Ur." Compare complaint; elegy.

Learn more about lament with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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