- suffer a mental and physical decline, esp. because of a broken heart. She thinks I am pining away from love.
- (pine for) miss and long for the return of. I was pining for my boyfriend.
Origin: Old English pinian [(cause to) suffer,] of Germanic origin; related to Dutch pijnen, German peinen ‘experience pain,’ also to obsolete pine [punishment]; ultimately based on Latin poena ‘punishment.’
Here are two examples of turn-of-the-century postcard humor. Both feature a gentleman pining for a loved one and in both cases he’s got a pineapple for a head. Get it? Pining? Pineapple? The wordplay is genius. Genius, I tell you. And what’s funnier than a guy with a pineapple for a head?
“I’m Crazy Pineapple-Head! And I want some candy! I don’t have a normal head, I got a pineapple growing out of it! Now, give me some crazy candy! Ow-ooo, this pineapple makes me crazy!”
But would someone…anyone…care to explain that second example to me? “I’m no Indian but I do pine for you?”
Sure, the pineapple originated in the New World, but by the turn of the century the pineapple was most often associated with the South Pacific and the Far East, so surely it can’t be referring to Native Americans. Yet the Republic of India has never been a major producer of pineapples, so what other explanation is there?
It makes about as much sense as…
I’m no Lithuanian but I’ve bean missing you.
I’m no British North Bornean but I’m plum out of patience with your absence.