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’.
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.