\ 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


The lamb bleated as I approached. “But why can't I go?” she bleated. The labor union is always bleating about the management.


a very patient, understanding person who accepts life's inconveniences without a bleat
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Usually, Hot Takes are Stephen A. Smith-ian bleats that involve all the intelligence of a ham sandwich. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds rebuild not over but David Bell has players' attention," 19 June 2019 At the moment, the entire herd is bleating and running frantically around their nearby pen. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "Goat Milk Is the Secret to Beautiful Skin," 29 Nov. 2018 As a result of his top quality performance against the Reds over the weekend, many fans have taken to bleating out that Young 'pocketed' Salah, with the 32-year-old defender even getting in on the act himself., "Ashley Young Mocks Liverpool Star Mohamed Salah on Instagram Following Win at Old Trafford," 13 Mar. 2018 At first, some colleagues seem startled to hear her signature song’s bleating horns. Cassie Owens,, "Where have all the musical ringtones gone?," 24 May 2018 Woods expanded into fields full of sheep that bleated in pitches high and low—short like hiccups, long like pleas. Anya Yurchyshyn,, "For This Author, Mother's Day Is An Occasion For Reckoning," 11 May 2018 The Trump administration is full of cheerful kleptocrats like Mulvaney, all of whom share a remarkable ability to bleat about swamp-draining in public while using their newfound positions of power to enrich themselves or people like them in private. Jay Willis, GQ, "Trump Officials Are Now Openly Bragging About How Corrupt They Are," 25 Apr. 2018 There have been at least 14 emergency alerts sent to cellphones over the past week, and those around the Olympic Park here received eight separate, bleating alerts on Wednesday alone. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "This Is Not a Drill: Another ‘Emergency’ Alert Is On Its Way," 14 Feb. 2018 There have been at least 14 emergency alerts sent to cellphones over the past week, and those around the Olympic Park here received eight separate, bleating alerts on Wednesday alone. Author: Andrew Keh, Anchorage Daily News, "This is not a drill: Emergency cellphone alerts at the Winter Games become annoying," 14 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And lurking within, at the foot of the holy mountain known as Nanda Devi, lies an inviolable Shangri-la of golden grassland, silent but for the rumble of avalanches and the plaintive bleats of wild sheep. National Geographic, "Why the world’s most daunting mountains inspire me," 11 Apr. 2019 The title comes from a baby deer’s bleat during mating season. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood’s Husband Mike Fisher Released a Hilarious Parody of ‘Before He Cheats’," 6 Nov. 2018 For every gunshot fired and a horn’s violent bleat, there is hope in the eyes of the last of the Last Poets., "Album reviews: The Last Poets, Snail Mail, Joshua Hedley," 14 June 2018 Hip-hop has been moving in this direction for the last few years, from Future’s purple opiate haze to Travis Scott’s head-in-the clouds bleats — styles that lend themselves easily to ambient bliss. New York Times, "Post Malone and Rae Sremmurd, Hip-Hop Impressionists Shaping the Stream," 9 May 2018 In an unseen orchestra that bleats and blares, an urgent trombone chorus heralds every leap into banality. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Tomb Raider’ Review: Buried by Absurdity," 15 Mar. 2018 Not a sound from anywhere, save the occasional bleat from one of the Hansens' sheep. Boris Fishman, Smithsonian, "This Lake Is One of Montana’s Best Kept Secrets," 16 Aug. 2017 He's been front-page for months, every bleat, blurt, yelp, and belch. Author: Garrison Keillor, Alaska Dispatch News, "Taking stock in the ordinary goodness of life," 6 Aug. 2017 And thanks to the generosity of some village residents, the sounds of those warning bleats from the trains that pass through will stop. Jennie Key,, "Rail at a crossroad: Glendale's quiet zone is on track," 29 Aug. 2017

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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Statistics for bleat

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bleat

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

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More Definitions for bleat



English Language Learners Definition of bleat

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


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on bleat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bleat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bleat

Spanish Central: Translation of bleat

Nglish: Translation of bleat for Spanish Speakers

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