Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “plaintive”

plaintive

adjective uk   /ˈpleɪn.tɪv/ us    /-t̬ɪv/
describes something that sounds slightly sad: the plaintive sound of the bagpipes "What about me?" came a plaintive voice.Describing qualities of sound
plaintively
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
"I've broken my glasses," he said plaintively.Describing qualities of sound
plaintiveness
noun [U] uk   /-nəs/ us  
Describing qualities of sound
(Definition of plaintive from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of plaintive?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “plaintive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

stampede

When animals or people stampede, they all move quickly in the same direction, often because they are frightened.

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More