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[grohn] /groʊn/
a low, mournful sound uttered in pain or grief:
the groans of dying soldiers.
a deep, inarticulate sound uttered in derision, disapproval, desire, etc.
a deep grating or creaking sound due to a sudden or continued overburdening, as with a great weight:
We heard the groan of the ropes as the crane lowered the heavy cargo into the ship's hold.
verb (used without object)
to utter a deep, mournful sound expressive of pain or grief.
to make a deep, inarticulate sound expressive of derision, disapproval, desire, etc.
to make a sound resembling a groan; resound harshly:
The steps of the old house groaned under my weight.
to be overburdened or overloaded.
to suffer greatly or lamentably:
groaning under an intolerable burden.
verb (used with object)
to utter or express with groans.
Origin of groan
before 900; Middle English gronen, Old English grānian; cognate with German greinen to whine
Related forms
groaner, noun
groaningly, adverb
undergroan, noun
ungroaning, adjective
Can be confused
groan, grown (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. Groan, moan refer to sounds indicating deep suffering. A groan is a brief, strong, deep-throated sound emitted involuntarily under pressure of pain or suffering: The wounded man groaned when they lifted him. A moan is a prolonged, more or less continuous, low, inarticulate sound indicative of suffering, either physical or mental: She was moaning after the operation. She did not weep, but moaned softly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for groaning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And, groaning deeply, he threw himself on a chair, and rugged his hair like a maniac in the highest paroxysm of his disease.

  • The Citizen Morot could not hear the jokes nor distinguish the cause of the groaning.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • One of the wounded men—the police trooper, to wit—was groaning piteously.

  • However, I had no thought for any one but my patient, who was groaning most dreadfully.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • Shif'less Sol spoke after a while, and apparently his groaning voice was drawn up from the very bottom of his chest.

    The Forest Runners Joseph A. Altsheler
British Dictionary definitions for groaning


a prolonged stressed dull cry expressive of agony, pain, or disapproval
a loud harsh creaking sound, as of a tree bending in the wind
(informal) a grumble or complaint, esp a persistent one
to utter (low inarticulate sounds) expressive of pain, grief, disapproval, etc: they all groaned at Larry's puns
(intransitive) to make a sound like a groan
(intransitive, usually foll by beneath or under) to be weighed down (by) or suffer greatly (under): the country groaned under the dictator's rule
(intransitive) (informal) to complain or grumble
Derived Forms
groaning, noun, adjective
groaningly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English grānian; related to Old Norse grīna, Old High German grīnan; see grin
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 groaning

Old English granung, verbal noun from groan (v.). From 16c.-19c., and in dialect, also "a woman's lying in."



Old English granian "to groan, murmur, lament," from Proto-Germanic *grain- (cf. Old Norse grenja "to howl"), of imitative origin, or related to grin. Meaning "complain" is from early 13c., especially in Middle English phrase grutchen and gronen. Related: Groaned; groaning.


late 14c., from groan (v); earlier grane (early 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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