Difference Between Moan and Groan

Main Difference – Moan vs. Groan

Both moan and groan are two onomatopoeic words. That is to say, they represent the sound implied by the meaning of the word. The main difference between moan and groan is that groan is a deep, inarticulate sound conveying pain, despair or pleasure. Moan is a long, low sound made by a person expressing mental and physical suffering or sexual pleasure.

Moan – Meaning and Usage

Moan can be described as a long, low sound made by a person. It is said to be derived from the meaning to mourn, complain or lament. So we can deduce that moan is used to express physical and mental torment. Moan sometimes also can express sexual pleasure.

The widow gave a low moan of despair and fainted.

Her moan of pleasure was a welcome sound to his ears.

The little boy moaned and opened his eyes.

In the first two sentences, moan is used as a noun but in the second sentence moan is used as a verb. Thus, it should be clear to you that moan is used both as a noun and a verb.

We can use the word moan to refer to a sound that resembles a human moan as well.

The wind’s moan was heard through the chimney.

The moan of the sea provided a perfect backdrop for her mournful lamentation.

Moan is also used in an informal sense to refer to complain and grumble about something.

My son moans that I’m too strict.

When the decision was finally announced, it was met with few groans and moans from the crowd.Difference Between Moan and Groan

Groan – Meaning and Usage

Groan is  a deep, inarticulate sound conveying pain, despair, or pleasure. Groan can be used both as a noun and a verb. Therefore, groan refers to a sound or the process of making the sound.

As I tried to remove the bandage, he groaned with pain.

He groaned in pleasure as the water touched his body.

A loud thud was heard followed by a deep groan.

In the first two sentences, groan is used as a verb, but in the third sentence it is used as a noun. As with moan, groan too can have several meanings. They are,

Complain or grumble

They accepted their punishment without any groans and  moans.

They went to the management with their groans and moans but didn’t receive a positive response.

A low creaking sound made by an object under pressure.

The chair groaned under his weight.

The old stairs of the abandoned house creaked and groaned as they climbed it.Main Difference - Moan vs Groan

Difference Between Moan and Groan


Moan is a long, low sound.

Groan is a deep, inarticulate sound.


Moan can convey physical or mental suffering or sexual pleasure.

Groan conveys pain, despair, or pleasure.


Moan is generally used to express pain and suffering.

Groan is used for both pleasure and pain.

Type of Sound

Moan is only used to refer to a sound made by humans, and sounds that are similar to human moans.

Groan can be made by humans or objects.

Complain or Grumble

Moan can refer to complain, or grumble, but this is only used in the informal usage.

Complain or grumble is an accepted meaning of Groan.Difference Between Moan and Goan - infographic

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