\ ˈblēt How to pronounce bleat (audio) , Northern also ˈblat, Southern usually ˈblāt \
bleated; bleating; bleats

Definition of bleat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to make the natural cry of a sheep or goat also : to utter a similar sound
b : whimper
2a : to talk complainingly or with a whine
b : blather

transitive verb

: to utter in a bleating manner



Definition of bleat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the cry of a sheep or goat also : a similar sound the bleat of a cell phone
2 : a feeble outcry, protest, or complaint

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Other Words from bleat


bleater noun

Examples of bleat in a Sentence

Verb The lamb bleated as I approached. “But why can't I go?” she bleated. The labor union is always bleating about the management. Noun a very patient, understanding person who accepts life's inconveniences without a bleat
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Watching smug, satisfied 1 percenters bleat on about their unlimited financial options is about as welcome as a wet teddy bear., 6 July 2021 She was booted from her GOP leadership spot for refusing to go along with her reprobate and deceitful Republican colleagues, who continue to lay prostrate before former President Donald Trump and bleat that the election was stolen from him. Mika Brzezinski, NBC News, 17 May 2021 On the small farm that Alberto Barroso runs a few miles from his apartment, the sprightly stems of potatoes and onions peek through fresh soil; his hundreds of goats bleat into the clean air. Colette Davidson, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Mar. 2021 The New York Times will bellow and bleat, And the silence will echo down Mulberry Street. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 3 Mar. 2021 Even those inside that didn’t come out must have heard the truck horns moaning, the air brakes bleating, the hymn of an industrial funeral. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2020 The buck bleated several times but soon stopped struggling. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 Mar. 2020 The season opens with the faintest noise: A single French horn bleats a plaintive melody while a platoon of hoary men from the Royal Mail service, all wearing dark suits, shuffles into a stateroom in Buckingham Palace. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, 12 Dec. 2019 The constant hum of their bleating in the competition barns provided a soundtrack to Monday’s exhibition, accompanied by a muted aroma of hay and manure. Ashley Mcbride,, 11 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As Bryant scrupulously took notes on dance moves, and Davis practiced his bleat, some moments seemed sure to land differently, even though they were crafted years ago. Michael Paulson, New York Times, 2 Aug. 2021 The alarm continued its steady bleat, the volume seeming to increase. Emma Cline, The New Yorker, 1 June 2020 Hungry fawns often make a soft bleat that has a begging tone to it. Jarrod Spilger, Field & Stream, 6 Dec. 2019 Solar Sister, so tell us—how to, how to disassemble our fragile empire without ballooning the glottal-bleat system for another. Aria Aber, The New Republic, 17 Apr. 2020 Other songs featured hard-rock guitar solos or free-jazz horn bleats, neatly integrated into the arrangements and the overall presentation, which included a mix of live and prerecorded video. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2020 Kirby then issues five or six doe bleats, followed by six to eight tending grunts. Jarrod Spilger, Field & Stream, 6 Dec. 2019 Aside from some rhetorical bleats, Republicans are acquiescing as Trump makes foreign policy by and for his viscera. George Will, Twin Cities, 13 Oct. 2019 The Zoo’s popular Giant Panda Cam is one of the best ways to listen in for the chirps, honks, bleats, barks and squeals. Beth Py-lieberman, Smithsonian, 10 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of bleat


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bleat


Middle English bleten, from Old English blǣtan; akin to Latin flēre to weep, Old English bellan to roar — more at bellow

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Time Traveler for bleat

Time Traveler

The first known use of bleat was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Bleat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for bleat



English Language Learners Definition of bleat

: to make the sound that a sheep or goat makes
: to speak or complain in an annoying way : whine


\ ˈblēt How to pronounce bleat (audio) \
bleated; bleating

Kids Definition of bleat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf



Kids Definition of bleat (Entry 2 of 2)

: the sound made by a sheep, goat, or calf

More from Merriam-Webster on bleat

Nglish: Translation of bleat for Spanish Speakers


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