AskDefine | Define lament

Dictionary Definition



1 a cry of sorrow and grief; "their pitiful laments could be heard throughout the ward" [syn: lamentation, plaint, wail]
2 a song or hymn of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person [syn: dirge, coronach, requiem, threnody]
3 a mournful poem; a lament for the dead [syn: elegy]


1 express grief verbally; "we lamented the death of the child" [syn: keen]
2 regret strongly; "I deplore this hostile action"; "we lamented the loss of benefits" [syn: deplore, bewail, bemoan]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ləˈmɛnt/


  1. An expression of grief.
  2. A song expressing grief.


expression of grief
song expressing grief


  1. To express grief.
  2. To bewail.


express grief

Extensive Definition

A lament or lamentation is a song or poem expressing grief, regret or mourning. Many of the oldest and most lasting poems in human history have been laments. Laments are present in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, in Beowulf, in the Hindu Vedas, and in ancient Near Eastern religious texts, including the Mesopotamian city laments such as the Lament for Ur and the Jewish Tanakh (or Old Testament). In many oral traditions, both early and modern, the lament has been a genre usually performed by women.


  • Margaret Alexiou, The ritual lament in Greek tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974.
  • Mohsen Farsani. Lamentations chez les nomades bakhtiari d'Iran, Paris. 2003.
  • H. Munro Chadwick, Nora Kershaw Chadwick, The growth of literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932-40), e.g. vol. 2 p. 229.
  • Andrew Dalby, Rediscovering Homer (New York: Norton, 2006. ISBN 0393057887) pp. 141-143.
  • Gail Holst-Warhaft, Dangerous voices: women's laments and Greek literature. London: Routledge, 1992. ISBN 0415121655.
  • Claus Westermann, Praise and Lament in the Psalms. Westminster: John Knox Press, 1981. ISBN 0804217920.
lament in French: Complainte
lament in Italian: Lamentazione
lament in Hebrew: קינה
lament in Lithuanian: Rauda
lament in Polish: Tren (literatura)
lament in Russian: Плач (литературный жанр)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bawl, bemoan, bewail, coronach, cry, deplore, dirge, discomfort, dismay, distress, dolorous tirade, elegize, elegy, epicedium, give sorrow words, grieve, grieve for, grieve over, groan, howl, jeremiad, keen, knell, lamentation, moan, moaning, monody, mourn, mourning, murmur, mutter, outcry, pain, plaint, planctus, repine, scream, sigh, sing the blues, sob, sorrow, threnody, tirade, ululation, wail, wail of woe, weep, weep over, whimper, whine, yawp, yowl
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