1350-1400;Middle Englishcompleinen < Anglo-Frenchcompleign-, stem of compleindre,Old Frenchcomplaindre < Vulgar Latin*complangere, equivalent to Latincom-com- + plangere to lament; see plaint
1. Complain, grumble, growl, whine are terms for expressing dissatisfaction or discomfort. To complain is to protest against or lament a wrong: to complain about high prices. To grumble is to utter ill-natured complaints half to oneself: to grumble about the service. Growl may express more anger than grumble : to growl in reply to a question. To whine is to complain in a meanspirited way, using a nasal tone: to whine like a coward, like a spoiled child.
c.1370, from stem of O.Fr. complaindre "to lament," from V.L. *complangere, orig. "to beat the breast," from L. com- intensive prefix + plangere "to strike, beat the breast," from PIE base *plag- "to strike." Older sense of "lament" died out 17c.