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Believed to have been formed (with uncertainty, due to the unusual formation) as re- +‎ pine, with the verb giving rise to the noun (first attested in 1529 and 1593 respectively); compare the Middle English verb repīnen ((uncertain) to cause trouble to someone, grieve)[1] (from pīnen (to cause pain, grieve, hurt, trouble; to starve, pine; to torment, torture), from Old English pīnian),[2] which may be related.



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

  1. (transitive) To fail; to wane.
  2. (intransitive, now literary) To complain; to regret. [from early 16th c.]
    • 1577, Socrates Scholasticus [i.e., Socrates of Constantinople], “Constantinus the Emperour Summoneth the Nicene Councell, it was Held at Nicæa a Citie of Bythnia for the Debatinge of the Controuersie about the Feast of Easter, and the Rootinge out of the Heresie of Arius”, in Eusebius Pamphilus; Socrates Scholasticus; Evagrius Scholasticus; Dorotheus; Meredith Hanmer, transl., The Avncient Ecclesiasticall Histories of the First Six Hundred Yeares after Christ, [], book I (The First Booke of the Ecclesiasticall Historye of Socrates Scholasticvs), imprinted at London: By Thomas Vautroullier [], OCLC 55193813, page 225:
      [VV]e are able with playne demonſtration to proue, and vvith reaſon to perſvvade that in tymes paſt our fayth vvas alike, that then vve preached thinges correſpondent vnto the forme of faith already published of vs, ſo that none in this behalfe can repyne or gaynesay vs.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Against Envy, Livor, Emulation, Hatred, Ambition, Selfe-loue, and All Other Affections”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, partition 2, section 3, member 6:
      But many times we complaine, repine, and mutter without cauſe, wee giue way to paſſions, we may reſiſt and will not.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes, []”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], OCLC 228732398, lines 992–997, page 61:
      Nor ſhall I count it hainous to enjoy / The public marks of honour and reward / Conferr'd upon me, for the piety / Which to my countrey I was judg'd to have ſhewn. / At this whoever envies or repines / I leave him to his lot, and like my own.
    • 1729, William Law, chapter XXII, in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. Adapted to the State and Condition of All Orders of Christians, London: Printed for William Innys, [], OCLC 433148097, page 447:
      Whoſo repines at ſeaſons and weather, and ſpeaks impatiently of times and events, repines and ſpeakth impatiently of God, who is the ſole Lord and Governor of times, ſeaſons, and events.
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], “Epistle I”, in An Essay on Man. Address’d to a Friend, new edition, London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, [], OCLC 228762650; republished as An Essay on Man. By Alexander Pope, Esq. A New Edition. To which is Prefixed a Critical Essay, by J[ohn] Aikin, M.D., London: Printed for T[homas] Cadell, Jun., and W. Davies, (successors to Mr. [Thomas] Cadell), Strand, 1796, OCLC 1008157997, stanza IX, lines 259–262, page 55:
      What if the foot, ordain'd the duſt to tread, / Or hand, to toil, aſpir'd to be the head? / What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd / To ſerve mere engines to the ruling mind; []
    • 1782, [Jeremy Taylor], “A Prayer for a Woman who has Lost Her Husband”, in A Complete Manual of Family and Private Devotions, Suited to a Great Variety of Cases: [...], Wigan: Printed by William Banckes, OCLC 504010855, part III (Private Prayers for the Closet, on Extraordinary and Particular Occasions. To be Added to Morning or Evening Prayer, or Used Separately, at Discretion), pages 344–345:
      And grant, O merciful Father, that both they and I may learn, from the inſtability of human comforts, to delight more in thyſelf, and leſs in earthly things. Let us never think ourſelves unhappy while we can enjoy thee, nor murmur nor repine at any loſſes, ſo long as we are the objects of thy love, and the care of thy good Providence.
    • 1958, John W. Peterson (lyrics and music), “Night of Miracles”, Minneapolis, Minn.: Better Choirs, OCLC 860310781:
      [N]o more need men on earth repine
    • 1989, Anthony Burgess, “Dau”, in Any Old Iron, London: Hutchinson, →ISBN; republished New York, N.Y.: Washington Square Press, Pocket Books, 1990, →ISBN, page 84:
      Beatrix invited me no more to tea but I did not greatly repine.


Alternative forms[edit]

  • repyne (obsolete, 16th century)

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ repīnen, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. ^ pīnen, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 3 March 2018.