verb \ˈwāl\

: to make a loud, long cry of sadness or pain

: to make a long, high sound

: to complain in a loud voice

Full Definition of WAIL

intransitive verb
:  to express sorrow audibly :  lament
:  to make a sound suggestive of a mournful cry
:  to express dissatisfaction plaintively :  complain
transitive verb
archaic :  bewail
:  to say or express plaintively <wailed that her cake was ruined>
wail·er \ˈwā-lər\ noun

Examples of WAIL

  1. The child started wailing after she stumbled and fell.
  2. A saxophone wailed in the background.
  3. No! I don't want to go! he wailed.
  4. She wailed that the vacation was ruined.

Origin of WAIL

Middle English weilen, waylen, perhaps modification (influenced by Middle English weilawei wellaway) of Old Norse væla, vāla to wail; akin to Old Norse vei woe — more at woe
First Known Use: 14th century



: a long cry of sadness or pain

: a long, high sound

Full Definition of WAIL

:  the act or practice of wailing :  loud lamentation
a :  a usually prolonged cry or sound expressing grief or pain
b :  a sound suggestive of wailing <the wail of an air-raid siren>
c :  a querulous expression of grievance :  complaint

Examples of WAIL

  1. the wail of a siren
  2. <a prolonged wail arose from every corner of the city as the victims of the earthquake were unearthed from the rubble>

First Known Use of WAIL

15th century


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