from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Sharp, shrill, especially of a sound.
  • noun Intense mournful wailing after a death, often at a funeral or wake
  • noun by extension An unpleasant sound.
  • verb Present participle of keen.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Irish Caoineadh meaning lament.


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  • "NORA (In a whisper to Cathleen.): She's quiet now and easy; but the day Michael was drowned you could hear her crying out from this to the spring well. It's fonder she was of Michael, and would any one have thought that?

    CATHLEEN (Slowly and clearly.): An old woman will be soon tired with anything she will do, and isn't it nine days herself is after crying and keening, and making great sorrow in the house?"

    - J. M. Synge, 'Riders to the Sea'.

    December 13, 2008