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From Middle English plainte, a borrowing from Anglo-Norman plainte ‎(lamentation), plaint ‎(lament), and Old French pleinte ‎(lamentation), pleint ‎(lament) (modern French plainte), from Medieval Latin plancta ‎(plaint), from Latin planctus ‎(a beating of the breast in lamentation, beating, lamentation), from Latin plango ‎(I beat the breast, I lament); see plain.



plaint ‎(plural plaints)

  1. (poetic or archaic) A lament or woeful cry.
    • 1827, Maria Elizabeth Budden, Nina, An Icelandic Tale, page 11:
      In the first paroxysm of his grief, Ingolfr exclaimed, (what sorrowing heart has not echoed his plaint?) that he could never more taste of joy.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, Chapter V, p. 75, [1]
      His shriek was as feeble as the plaint of a grass-stalk in a storm.
  2. A complaint.
    • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
      she seemed to repeat, though with perceptible resignation, her plaint of a moment before. ‘Your father, darling, is a very odd person indeed.’
  3. (archaic or Britain law) An accusation.
    Once the plaint had been made there was nothing that could be done to revoke it.

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From Middle French plaint, pleint, from Old French plaint, pleint, from Latin planctus.


plaint m ‎(feminine singular plainte, masculine plural plaints, feminine plural plaintes)

  1. past participle of plaindre

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