Advanced and Proficiency Vocabulary for Exams(e.g.GRE, Banks, Civil Services, SAT / LSAT). For IELTS/TOEFL, and everyday spoken vocabulary, go to our Spoken Vocabulary Database.
‘Plaintive’ describes a sound made by somebody or something that has a pleading, sorrowful, or desperate tone to it. For that reason, you may often come across it in association with words such as ‘sigh’ or ‘wail’.
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Alice did not cry when she received the bad news, she just let out a plaintive sigh.
David had a plaintive tone to his voice as he pleaded with me to help him.
The plaintive sound of a violin can be very moving and evocative.