Word of the Day Archive
Saturday September 1, 2001
plaintive \PLAYN-tiv\ , adjective:
Expressive of sorrow or melancholy; mournful; sad.
Meanwhile Jack Byron's plight in France was becoming desperate and his letters to his sister increasingly plaintive.
-- Phyllis Grosskurth, Byron: The Flawed Angel
The shadows have lengthened, and the night birds have begun their plaintive chorus.
-- Valerie Martin, "Being St. Francis", The Atlantic, August 2000
. . .the plaintive cries of loneliness of the immigrant.
-- Jeremy Eichler, "Tango and the Individual Talent", New Republic, July 3, 2000
Plaintive derives from Old French plainte, "complaint," from Latin planctus, past participle of plangere, "to strike (one's breast), to lament."