Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A low, sustained, mournful cry, usually indicative of sorrow or pain.
  • n. A similar sound: the eerie moan of the night wind.
  • n. Lamentation.
  • intransitive v. To utter a moan or moans.
  • intransitive v. To make a sound resembling a moan: A saxophone moaned in the background.
  • intransitive v. To complain, lament, or grieve: an old man who still moans about his misspent youth.
  • transitive v. To bewail or bemoan: She moaned her misfortunes to anyone who would listen.
  • transitive v. To utter with moans or a moan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a low, mournful cry of pain, sorrow or pleasure
  • v. to make a moan or similar sound
  • v. to complain

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A low prolonged sound, articulate or not, indicative of pain or of grief; a low groan.
  • n. A low mournful or murmuring sound; -- of things.
  • intransitive v. To make a low prolonged sound of grief or pain, whether articulate or not; to groan softly and continuously.
  • intransitive v. To emit a sound like moan; -- said of things inanimate.
  • transitive v. To bewail audibly; to lament.
  • transitive v. To afflict; to distress.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To utter a low dull sound expressive of physical or mental suffering; lament inarticulately or with mournful utterance.
  • To give forth a saddening or gloomy sound, like one in distress; sound like a low cry of distress.
  • To murmur; complain; protest.
  • To lament; deplore; bewail.
  • To cause to make lamentation; afflict; distress: as, “which infinitely moans me,”
  • Moa-like; of or pertaining to a moa.
  • n. A low dull sound expressing grief or pain; a sound of lamentation not so deep as a groan; audible expression of sorrow; grief expressed in words or cries.
  • n.
  • n. A low dull sound resembling that made by a person moaning.
  • n. Lament: lamentation; complaint: especially in the phrase to make one's moan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an utterance expressing pain or disapproval
  • v. indicate pain, discomfort, or displeasure

Etymologies

Middle English mone, from Old English *mān; see mei-no- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English mone, mane, man, from Old English *mān ("complaint, lamentation"), from Proto-Germanic *mainō. Inferred from Old English mǣnan ("to complain over, grieve, mourn"). More at mean. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • All day I hear the noise of waters
    Making moan,
    Sad as the sea-bird is, when going
    Forth alone,
    He hears the winds cry to the waters'
    Monotone.

    - James Joyce, 'The Noise Of Waters'.

    November 30, 2008