Definition of groan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡrōn/


[no object]
1Make a deep inarticulate sound in response to pain or despair: Marty groaned and pulled the blanket over his head
More example sentences
  • She tried to pull his shirt away from the wound but he groaned in pain.
  • He slowly pulled himself up, and groaned as pain shot up and down his body.
  • She groaned in pleasure as she sank into the water.
1.1 [with direct speech] Say something in a despairing or miserable tone: “Oh God!” I groaned
More example sentences
  • "You are going to kill me, " Hannah groaned under her breath.
  • Have you ever been in the middle of a weight workout and groaned, ‘This is killing me!’
  • ‘I'm not feeling well,’ she groaned.
1.2Complain; grumble: they were moaning and groaning about management
More example sentences
  • Grumpy old codgers such as Will Self and Bob Geldof have been moaning and groaning on prime-time TV about what really gets their goat.
  • Once the initial elation of a happy event dies down, we quickly revert to type, moaning and groaning.
  • He had a very well paid and exclusive job millions of people would kill for and was still moaning and groaning about Matt.
complain, grumble, grouse
informal moan, niggle, beef, bellyache, bitch, gripe
2(Of a thing) make a low creaking or moaning sound when pressure or weight is applied: James slumped back into his chair, making it groan and bulge
More example sentences
  • The metal rungs creaked and groaned as she put her weight on them, but held firm against the stone wall.
  • The impressive tent also housed the long tables groaning from the weight of delicious French produce on display.
  • The old stairs creaked and groaned as I climbed them and suddenly, I felt very much like an intruder.
creak, squeak;
grate, rasp
2.1 (groan with/under) Be heavily loaded with: tables groan with joints of venison
More example sentences
  • At the inn, over a breakfast table groaning with pecan granola, blueberry muffins, apple cakes and steaming coffee, my landlady confirms my suspicions.
  • And then there's food - glorious food - tables groaning with breads, pies, fruitcakes and dainty sweets wrapped with red and green ribbon.
  • I remember the Sunday afternoon teas at my grandparents' house as a child, the table groaning with various cakes and biscuits.
2.2 (groan under/beneath) Be oppressed by: families groaning under mortgage increases
More example sentences
  • Just about every public service groans under the weight of paperwork, and the police are the latest to suffer.
  • Worldcom's bankruptcy filing has lessons for domestic lenders groaning under a mountain of non-performing assets estimated to be anywhere between Rs 50,000 crore and Rs 75,000 crore.
  • If Kerry had had his way, the Soviet Union and the nations behind the Iron Curtain would still be in place - groaning under inefficient, totalitarian Communist regimes.


1A deep inarticulate sound made in pain or despair.
Example sentences
  • Without warning, another shot rings out, followed by a deep groan.
  • Rupert rubbed his face, letting out a low groan of pain.
  • My hips pressed closer to him, and a slight groan escaped from deep within my throat.
moan, cry, whimper
1.1A complaint: to listen with sincerity to everyone’s moans and groans
More example sentences
  • The pupils come to me with their moans and groans, but I have heard nothing regarding them being attacked.
  • And judging by the moans and groans coming from some supporters at the moment you would think Burnley are locked in a tailspin of cataclysmic proportions.
  • They need to be controlled, irrespective of the moans and groans from those motorists who want to drive where they want at the speed they want.
complaint, grumble, grouse, objection, protest, grievance
informal grouch, moan, beef, gripe
2A low creaking or moaning sound made by an object or device under pressure: the protesting groan of timbers
More example sentences
  • It's an old house, full of creaks and groans and other house sounds.
  • In his heart he knew that these were nothing but foolish thoughts and that the sounds he could hear were just the unfamiliar creaks and groans of the old house but that didn't make the slightest bit of difference.
  • The howling wind was still making its presence felt, shaking the structure of the building, causing countless creaks and groans to rise up from its foundations.
creaking, creak, squeak, grating, grinding


groan inwardly

Feel dismayed by something but remain silent: everything has a tepid inevitability, and even as you smile you may be groaning inwardly
More example sentences
  • She stood, looking around and groaning inwardly.
  • I looked over at Samantha, groaning inwardly.
  • As people started to gradually file in, I looked around the room, groaning inwardly at the sight of Blaise and his group.



Example sentences
  • Once again we have the moaners and groaners in the paper complaining about the development of Derwenthorpe.
  • Singers and non-singers alike, including shouters, groaners, moaners and squealers, can all join in.
  • Now the grunters and groaners are back, as the sport of wrestling made a return visit to Bolton at the weekend.


Old English grānian, of Germanic origin; related to German greinen 'cry, whine', grinsen 'grin', also probably to grin.

  • grin from Old English:

    When grin entered English in the 11th century it meant ‘to bare the teeth in pain or anger’, far from the happy expression the word suggests nowadays. This former sense is preserved in the expression grin and bear it, ‘to suffer pain or misfortune stoically’. An earlier version of the phrase is grin and abide. Not until the late 15th century did grin begin to be used for various sorts of smile, developing from a forced, unnatural one, through a rather vacant, silly one, to the cheerful and broad smile we associate with the word today. Groan (Old English) is related.

Words that rhyme with groan

alone, atone, Beaune, bemoan, blown, bone, Capone, clone, Cohn, Cologne, condone, cone, co-own, crone, drone, enthrone, flown, foreknown, foreshown, grown, half-tone, home-grown, hone, Joan, known, leone, loan, lone, mephedrone, moan, Mon, mown, ochone, outflown, outgrown, own, phone, pone, prone, Rhône, roan, rone, sewn, shown, Simone, Sloane, Soane, sone, sown, stone, strown, throne, thrown, tone, trombone, Tyrone, unbeknown, undersown, windblown, zone

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: groan

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