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From Middle English bemenen, bimenen, from Old English bemǣnan (to bemoan, bewail, lament); equivalent to be- (about, concerning) +‎ moan. Alteration of vowel from Middle to Modern English due to analogy with moan.



bemoan (third-person singular simple present bemoans, present participle bemoaning, simple past and past participle bemoaned)

  1. (transitive) To moan or complain about (something).
    Synonyms: bewail, lament, mourn
    He bemoaned the drought but went on watering his lawn.
    • 1577, Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotlande and Irelande, London: John Hunne, “King Richard the seconde,” p. 1075[1]:
      The losse of this erle was greatly bemoned by men of al degrees, for he was liberal, gentle, humble, and curteous to eche one []
    • 1855, Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South, Chapter 1[2]:
      [] after deliberately marrying General Shaw with no warmer feeling than respect for his character and establishment, [she] was constantly, though quietly, bemoaning her hard lot in being united to one whom she could not love.
    • 1957, Muriel Spark, The Comforters, New York: Avon, 1965, Chapter 7, p. 155[3]:
      “I am sure you are better off without Mr. Hogg,” Helena would say often when Georgina bemoaned her husband’s desertion.
    • 2004, Andrea Levy, Small Island, London: Review, Chapter Nine, p. 112[4]:
      He’d have told that horrible sister of his that more coloureds had just turned up. How many is it now? they’d have said to each other. Fifty? Sixty? ‘You’ll have to speak to her, Cyril,’ she’d have told him, before bemoaning how respectable this street was before they came.
  2. (transitive, reflexive) To be dismayed or worried about (someone), particularly because of their situation or what has happened to them.

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