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verb \ˈkrī\

Simple Definition of cry

  • : to produce tears from your eyes often while making loud sounds because of pain, sorrow, or other strong emotions

  • : to shout or say something loudly

  • of a bird or animal : to make the loud sound that is usual for a particular type of bird or animal

Full Definition of cry


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to utter loudly :  shout

  3. 2 archaic :  beg, beseech

  4. 3 :  to proclaim publicly :  advertise <cry their wares>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to call loudly :  shout

  7. 2 :  to shed tears often noisily :  weep, sob

  8. 3 :  to utter a characteristic sound or call

  9. 4 :  to require or suggest strongly a remedy or disposition <a hundred things which cry out for planning — Roger Burlingame>

cry havoc
  1. :  to sound an alarm

cry over spilled milk
  1. :  to express vain regrets for what cannot be recovered or undone

cry wolf
  1. :  to give alarm unnecessarily

Examples of cry

  1. The baby is crying. Is she okay?

  2. Some people cry more easily than others.

  3. He cried silently while the song played.

  4. She cried all the way home from school that day.

  5. She couldn't imagine why anyone would cry over a stupid movie.

  6. She was crying with relief.

  7. They cried tears of joy.

  8. Help, he cried, Get a doctor! Quick!

  9. I heard someone cry Wait! but the train pulled away anyway.

  10. She'd never heard the sound of sea gulls crying by the shore.

Origin of cry

Middle English crien, from Anglo-French crier, from Latin quiritare to make a public outcry, perhaps from Quirit-, Quiris, Roman citizen

First Known Use: 13th century




Simple Definition of cry

  • : a loud sound that someone makes to express pain, hunger, sadness, etc.

  • : something that is said loudly : a shout or call

  • : a loud sound made by an animal or bird

Full Definition of cry

plural cries

  1. 1 :  an instance of crying: as a :  an inarticulate utterance of distress, rage, or pain b obsolete :  outcry, clamor

  2. 2 a obsolete :  proclamation b plural Scottish :  banns

  3. 3 :  entreaty, appeal <a cry for help>

  4. 4 :  a loud shout

  5. 5 :  watchword, slogan

  6. 6 a :  common report b :  a general opinion

  7. 7 :  the public voice raised in protest or approval

  8. 8 :  a fit of weeping

  9. 9 :  the characteristic sound or call of an animal

  10. 10 a :  a pack of hounds b (1) :  pursuit —used in the phrase in full cry <hounds in full cry> (2) :  a peak of activity or excitement —used in the phrase in full cry <a campaign in full cry>

Examples of cry

  1. The baby's cry woke me out of a deep sleep.

  2. There was a cry of Fire and we all rushed for the exits.

  3. The children were playing a game and their happy cries echoed through the house.

  4. the wild cry of a coyote

13th Century

First Known Use of cry

13th century


combining form

Definition of cry-

  1. :  cold :  freezing <cryonics> <cryogen>

Variants of cry-

or cryo-

Origin of cry-

German kryo-, from Greek, from kryos — more at crust

Seen and Heard

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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