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From Middle English plainte, borrowed 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.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pleɪnt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪnt


plaint (plural plaints)

  1. 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.’
  2. (poetic or archaic) A lament or woeful cry.
    • 1827, Maria Elizabeth Budden, Nina, An Icelandic Tale[1], 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, chapter V, in Capricornia[2], page 75:
      His shriek was as feeble as the plaint of a grass-stalk in a storm.
  3. (archaic) A sad song.
  4. (archaic or UK 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 (feminine plainte, masculine plural plaints, feminine plural plaintes)

  1. past participle of plaindre

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