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keening

[kee-ning] /ˈki nɪŋ/
noun
1.
the act of a person who keens.
2.
a wailing lament for the dead; keen.
Origin of keening
1875-1880
1875-80; keen2 + -ing1

keen2

[keen] /kin/
noun
1.
a wailing lament for the dead.
verb (used without object)
2.
to wail in lamentation for the dead.
verb (used with object)
3.
to mourn for by or with such keening or wailing:
keening his mother while kneeling at her grave.
Origin
1805-15; < Irish caoine (noun), caoin- (v., stem of caoinim) lament
Related forms
keener, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for keening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The natives stopped their keening, and made room for the two men.

    Feet Of Clay Phillip Hoskins
  • The room was filled with the keening staccato of the alien transmission.

    Greylorn John Keith Laumer
  • The stillness was long perturbed by the mournful cries of the madwoman, like the keening of some bird of evil omen.

    The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky
  • The huge brain was alert now, with a supernal sense of keening.

    Walls of Acid Henry Hasse
  • He wrapped his arms around his knees and rocked back and forth, sobbing and keening in the way of his people.

    Shaman Robert Shea
  • There was a keening of wind, and a cracking of the frozen ground.

  • When he had done this the old woman found herself able to get on with the keening.

  • The wailing song of Owny Hea rose through the wet air above the keening of the women in the bawn.

    Tales of Our Coast S. R. Crockett
British Dictionary definitions for keening

keen1

/kiːn/
adjective
1.
eager or enthusiastic
2.
(postpositive) foll by on. fond (of); devoted (to): keen on a girl, keen on golf
3.
intellectually acute: a keen wit
4.
(of sight, smell, hearing, etc) capable of recognizing fine distinctions
5.
having a sharp cutting edge or point
6.
extremely cold and penetrating: a keen wind
7.
intense or strong: a keen desire
8.
(mainly Brit) extremely low so as to be competitive: keen prices
9.
(slang, mainly US & Canadian) very good
Derived Forms
keenly, adverb
keenness, noun
Word Origin
Old English cēne; related to Old High German kuoni brave, Old Norse koenn wise; see can1, know

keen2

/kiːn/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to lament the dead
noun
2.
a dirge or lament for the dead
Derived Forms
keener, noun
Word Origin
C19: from Irish Gaelic caoine, from Old Irish coīnim I wail
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 keening

keen

adj.

c.1200, from Old English cene "bold brave," later "clever, wise," from Proto-Germanic *kan- "be able to" (see can). Original prehistoric senses seem to have been both "brave" and "skilled;" cognate with Old Norse kænn "skillful, wise," Middle Dutch coene "bold," Dutch koen, Old High German kuon "pugnacious, strong," German kühn "bold, daring." Sense of "eager" is from mid-14c. The meaning "sharp" is peculiar to English: of blades and edges early 13c., of sounds c.1400, of eyesight c.1720. A popular word of approval in teenager and student slang from c.1900.

v.

"lament," 1811, from Irish caoinim "I weep, wail, lament," from Old Irish coinim "I wail." Related: Keened; keening. As a noun from 1830.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for keening

keen

adjective

Excellent; wonderful; neat: I think she's a keen kid/ ''Keen?'' Blanche said. ''I haven't heard that word in 20 years'' (1900+ Teenagers & students)

Related Terms

peachy

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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12
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