Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Alternative forms[edit]


Believed to have been formed (with uncertainty, due to the unusual formation) as re- +‎ pine, with the verb (first attested in 1529) giving rise to the noun (first attested in 1593); compare the Middle English verb repinen, which may be related.



repine (third-person singular simple present repines, present participle repining, simple past and past participle repined)

  1. (intransitive, now literary) To regret; to complain. [from 15th century]
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069:, II.3.6:
      But many times we complain, repine, and mutter without a cause, we give way to passions we may resist and will not.
    • Alexander Pope
      What if the head, the eye, or ear repined / To serve mere engines to the ruling mind?
    • 1958, John W. Peterson, Night of Miracles:
      no more need men on earth repine
    • 1988, Anthony Burgess, Any Old Iron:
      Beatrix invited me no more to tea but I did not greatly repine.
  2. To fail; to wane.
    • 1781, Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 3, ch. 38:
      The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity repined the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight. The story of its ruin is simple and obvious; and instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it lasted so long.
    • Spenser
      Repining courage yields no foot to foe.