\ ˈbȯl How to pronounce bawl (audio) \
bawled; bawling; bawls

Definition of bawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to cry out loudly and unrestrainedly a sergeant bawling at his troops
2 : to cry loudly : wail He lay on his bed, bawling uncontrollably.

transitive verb

: to cry out at the top of one's voice "Get out of the car!" she bawled.



Definition of bawl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a loud prolonged cry : outcry … political bawls and bellows about cattle prices …Time

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bawl


bawler noun

Synonyms for bawl

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of bawl in a Sentence

Verb “Get in the car!” he bawled. he bawled for days after his dog died
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Deslyn remembers the day with perfect clarity, her teenage son, a senior in high school, bawling in the front seat of the family car, her not understanding what was wrong. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: The rise of Zach Pascal, from '8th-round' to Colts’ 'most important' receiver," 1 Nov. 2019 My dad pulled over on the side of the road bawling in Edmonton. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Nickelback's Chad Kroeger Honored as SOCAN'S Most Performed Songwriter Ever, But Says He'll Always Be a 'F---ing Idiot'," 5 Apr. 2019 Kanarowski-Peterson said another woman gave her a check for $500 and started bawling. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Horse ranch near the Dells blames 'heartbreaking' loss of 14 horses on toxic beetles," 14 Jan. 2020 In those opening exchanges, Virgil van Dijk was left bawling at his fellow defenders as Salzburg threatened to take the lead on several occasions. John Sinnott, CNN, "The 100 seconds that saved Liverpool's Champions League hopes," 10 Dec. 2019 Yet a version of them, bawling and pleading, will remain on the Internet, frozen in time. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Instagram, Facebook, and the Perils of “Sharenting”," 11 Sep. 2019 Ahmad goes to his mom’s room and finds her on the edge of her bed, hunched over, bawling into hands that are balled into fists. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Colts LB Ahmad Thomas was born without a family or future, then he found both," 3 Aug. 2019 Whilst the bawling politicians send Britain hurtling towards a no-deal crash-out from Europe at the end of March, the U.K. government is surreptitiously hiring crisis-emergency personnel to handle the unplanned-for chaos. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Brexit Deadline Is Looming—Here’s How It Will Affect London Fashion Week," 14 Feb. 2019 At deadline, there were no followup Instagrams of mom and kids bawling. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Kim Kardashian Posts The Perfect Family Photo," 5 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Distillers bury their faces in their hands and bawl after learning MLB’s winter meetings will go virtual. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: A.J. Smith says defense still wins championships ... Saban isn’t so sure," 31 Oct. 2020 Wilkins communicates differently — at a higher rate of notes per minute — peppering you with action before letting his tone disintegrate into a dry bawl. New York Times, "9 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 Mar. 2020 The new study is just one in a series of recent reports that reveal the centrality of crying to infant survival, and how a baby’s bawl punches through a cluttered acoustic landscape to demand immediate adult attention. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "A Baby Wails, and the Adult World Comes Running," 4 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bawl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bawl


1533, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1566, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bawl


Middle English, to bark, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Icelandic baula to low


noun derivative of bawl entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bawl

Statistics for bawl

Cite this Entry

“Bawl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bawl



English Language Learners Definition of bawl

: to cry very loudly
informal : to say or shout (something) using a very loud voice


\ ˈbȯl How to pronounce bawl (audio) \
bawled; bawling

Kids Definition of bawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to shout or cry loudly … he fairly stumbled down the steps, bawling for his breakfast.— Avi, Crispin
2 : to weep noisily
bawl out
: to scold severely



Kids Definition of bawl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a loud cry

More from Merriam-Webster on bawl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bawl

Nglish: Translation of bawl for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bawl

What made you want to look up bawl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!