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[pahyn] /paɪn/
verb (used without object), pined, pining.
to yearn deeply; suffer with longing; long painfully (often followed by for):
to pine for one's home and family.
to fail gradually in health or vitality from grief, regret, or longing (often followed by away):
Separated by their families, the lovers pined away.
Archaic. to be discontented; fret.
verb (used with object), pined, pining.
Archaic. to suffer grief or regret over.
Archaic. painful longing.
Origin of pine2
before 900; Middle English pinen to torture, torment, inflict pain, be in pain; Old English pīnian to torture, derivative of pīn torture (Middle English pine) < Late Latin pēna, Latin poena punishment. See pain
1. See yearn. 2. dwindle, decline, languish, droop, waste. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pining
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was nothing of the pining lover, nor of the lover at all, in his demeanour.

    Adventure Jack London
  • Now let us enter the carriage, for I am just pining to hear what it is you have on hand.

  • One day, pining perhaps for fresh diet, he grappled with his mistress and bit her hand.

    The Magnificent Montez Horace Wyndham
  • I warrant that she is pining away for want of a crust of bread.'

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • A dog has been known to convey food to another of his species who was tied up and pining for want of it.

    Anecdotes of Dogs Edward Jesse
British Dictionary definitions for pining


any evergreen resinous coniferous tree of the genus Pinus, of the N hemisphere, with long needle-shaped leaves and brown cones: family Pinaceae See also longleaf pine, nut pine, pitch pine, Scots pine
any other tree or shrub of the family Pinaceae
the wood of any of these trees
any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as ground pine and screw pine
Word Origin
Old English pīn, from Latin pīnus pine


(intransitive; often foll by for or an infinitive) to feel great longing or desire; yearn
(intransitive) often foll by away. to become ill, feeble, or thin through worry, longing, etc
(transitive) (archaic) to mourn or grieve for
Word Origin
Old English pīnian to torture, from pīn pain, from Medieval Latin pēna, from Latin poenapain


Courtney. born 1964, British jazz saxophonist and clarinettist
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 pining



"coniferous tree," Old English pin (in compounds), from Old French pin and directly from Latin pinus "pine, pine-tree, fir-tree," perhaps in reference to the sap or pitch, from PIE *peie- "to be fat, swell" (see fat (adj.)). Cf. Sanskrit pituh "juice, sap, resin," pitudaruh "pine tree," Greek pitys "pine tree." Also cf. pitch (n.1). Pine-top "cheap illicit whiskey," first recorded 1858, Southern U.S. slang. Pine-needle (n.) attested from 1866.


Old English pinian "to torture, torment, afflict, cause to suffer," from *pine "pain, torture, punishment," possibly ultimately from Latin poena "punishment, penalty," from Greek poine (see penal). A Latin word borrowed into Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch pinen, Old High German pinon, German Pein, Old Norse pina) with Christianity. Intransitive sense of "to languish, waste away," the main modern meaning, is first recorded early 14c. Related: Pined; pining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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