AskDefine | Define lamentation

Dictionary Definition



1 a cry of sorrow and grief; "their pitiful laments could be heard throughout the ward" [syn: lament, plaint, wail]
2 the passionate and demonstrative activity of expressing grief [syn: mourning]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. the act of lamenting; mourning
  2. a sorrowful cry; a lament
  3. a group of swans


the act of lamenting; mourning
a sorrowful cry; a lament
a group of swans

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.
lamentation in French: Complainte
lamentation in Italian: Lamentazione
lamentation in Hebrew: קינה
lamentation in Lithuanian: Rauda
lamentation in Polish: Tren (literatura)
lamentation in Russian: Плач (литературный жанр)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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