[mawr-ning, mohr-]
the act of a person who mourns; sorrowing or lamentation.
the conventional manifestation of sorrow for a person's death, especially by the wearing of black clothes or a black armband, the hanging of flags at half-mast, etc.
the outward symbols of such sorrow, as black garments.
the period or interval during which a person grieves or formally expresses grief, as by wearing black garments.
of, pertaining to, or used in mourning.

before 900; Middle English (noun, adj.); Old English murnung (noun). See mourn, -ing1, -ing2

mourningly, adverb
unmourning, adjective

1. rejoicing. Unabridged


[mawrn, mohrn]
verb (used without object)
to feel or express sorrow or grief.
to grieve or lament for the dead.
to show the conventional or usual signs of sorrow over a person's death.
verb (used with object)
to feel or express sorrow or grief over (misfortune, loss, or anything regretted); deplore.
to grieve or lament over (the dead).
to utter in a sorrowful manner.

before 900; Middle English mo(u)rnen, Old English murnan; cognate with Old High German mornēn, Old Norse morna, Gothic maurnan

overmourn, verb
unmourned, adjective

1. bewail, bemoan. See grieve.

1. laugh, rejoice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mourn (mɔːn)
1.  to feel or express sadness for the death or loss of (someone or something)
2.  (intr) to observe the customs of mourning, as by wearing black
3.  (tr) to grieve over (loss or misfortune)
[Old English murnan; compare Old High German mornēn to be troubled, Gothic maurnan to grieve, Greek mermeros worried]

mourning (ˈmɔːnɪŋ)
1.  the act or feelings of one who mourns; grief
2.  the conventional symbols of grief, such as the wearing of black
3.  the period of time during which a death is officially mourned
4.  in mourning observing the conventions of mourning
5.  of or relating to mourning

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. murnan "to mourn," also "be anxious, be careful" (class III strong verb; past tense mearn, pp. murnen), from P.Gmc. *murnanan (cf. O.H.G. mornen, Goth. maurnan "to mourn," O.N. morna "to pine away"), perhaps from PIE *smer- "to remember," or, if the O.N. sense is the base one, from *mer- "to die,
wither." Related: Mourned; mourning.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Mourn definition

Frequent references are found in Scripture to, (1.) Mourning for the dead. Abraham mourned for Sarah (Gen. 23:2); Jacob for Joseph (37:34, 35); the Egyptians for Jacob (50:3-10); Israel for Aaron (Num. 20:29), for Moses (Deut. 34:8), and for Samuel (1 Sam. 25:1); David for Abner (2 Sam. 3:31, 35); Mary and Martha for Lazarus (John 11); devout men for Stephen (Acts 8:2), etc. (2.) For calamities, Job (1:20, 21; 2:8); Israel (Ex. 33:4); the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5); Israel, when defeated by Benjamin (Judg. 20:26), etc. (3.) Penitential mourning, by the Israelites on the day of atonement (Lev. 23:27; Acts 27:9); under Samuel's ministry (1 Sam. 7:6); predicted in Zechariah (Zech. 12:10, 11); in many of the psalms (51, etc.). Mourning was expressed, (1) by weeping (Gen. 35:8, marg.; Luke 7:38, etc.); (2) by loud lamentation (Ruth 1:9; 1 Sam. 6:19; 2 Sam. 3:31); (3) by the disfigurement of the person, as rending the clothes (Gen. 37:29, 34; Matt. 26:65), wearing sackcloth (Gen. 37:34; Ps. 35:13), sprinkling dust or ashes on the person (2 Sam. 13:19; Jer. 6:26; Job 2:12), shaving the head and plucking out the hair of the head or beard (Lev. 10:6; Job 1:20), neglect of the person or the removal of ornaments (Ex. 33:4; Deut. 21:12, 13; 2 Sam. 14:2; 19:24; Matt. 6:16, 17), fasting (2 Sam. 1:12), covering the upper lip (Lev. 13:45; Micah 3:7), cutting the flesh (Jer. 16:6, 7), and sitting in silence (Judg. 20:26; 2 Sam. 12:16; 13:31; Job 1:20). In the later times we find a class of mourners who could be hired to give by their loud lamentation the external tokens of sorrow (2 Chr. 35:25; Jer. 9:17; Matt. 9:23). The period of mourning for the dead varied. For Jacob it was seventy days (Gen. 50:3); for Aaron (Num. 20:29) and Moses (Deut. 34:8) thirty days; and for Saul only seven days (1 Sam. 31:13). In 2 Sam. 3:31-35, we have a description of the great mourning for the death of Abner.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Britannica


formal demonstration of grief at the death of a person, practiced in most societies. Mourners are usually relatives, although they may be friends or members of the community. Mourning rites, which are of varying duration and rationale, usually weigh more heavily on women than on men. Mourners may deny themselves certain amusement, ornaments, or food. They may practice sexual continence or keep vigil over the body of the deceased. Changes in garb, such as black robes, and alterations in hairstyle may distinguish mourners, but such evidences of mourning have declined in many societies.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Grief and mourning occur during the period of bereavement.
Mourning the dead took all night in one tiny neighborhood this evening.
Not everyone is mourning the decline of tenure, though.
Mourning doves, cactus wrens, and hundreds of bees sip from the edges.
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