mid-13c., sighen, "make a prolonged and more or less audible heavy breath indicative of some emotion," probably a Middle English back-formation from sighte, past tense of Old English sican "to sigh," which is perhaps echoic of the sound of sighing. Related: Sighed; sighing.
By 13c. as an expression of grief or trouble in mind; by mid-14c. to express love-longing. From 1640s as "be sorry, be sorrowful" (sighful "sorrowful" is attested from c. 1600). Of the wind or trees in the wind by 1757.
late 14c., sighe, "a sigh," especially as an expression of sorrow, anxiety, love, etc. from sigh (v.). The earlier noun was sight (c. 1300).
updated on October 05, 2022