Definition of plaintive adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

plaintive

 adjective
adjective
BrE BrE//ˈpleɪntɪv//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈpleɪntɪv//
 
Unhappiness
 
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sounding sad, especially in a weak complaining way synonym mournful a plaintive cry/voice See related entries: Unhappiness Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French plaintif, -ive, from plainte ‘lamentation’, feminine past participle of plaindre ‘complain’, or from Old French plaint, from Latin planctus ‘beating of the breast’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: plaintive