\ ˈkrī How to pronounce cry (audio) \
cried; crying

Definition of cry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to utter loudly : shout He cried "Wait!" but it was too late.
2 archaic : beg, beseech
3 : to proclaim publicly : advertise cry their wares

intransitive verb

1 : to call loudly : shout She cried out for help.
2 : to shed tears often noisily : weep, sob The child began to cry after she dropped her ice-cream cone.
3 : to utter a characteristic sound or call heard the seagulls crying
4 : to require or suggest strongly a remedy or disposition (see disposition sense 2b) … there are a hundred things which cry out for planning …— Roger Burlingame
cry havoc
: to sound an alarm
cry over spilled milk
: to express vain regrets for what cannot be recovered or undone You made a mistake, but there's no use crying over spilled milk.
cry wolf
: to give alarm unnecessarily News organizations have been warned not to cry wolf.


plural cries

Definition of cry (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an instance of crying: such as
a : an inarticulate utterance of distress, rage, or pain
b obsolete : outcry, clamor
2a obsolete : proclamation
b cries plural, Scotland : banns
3 : entreaty, appeal a cry for help
4 : a loud shout
6a : common report
b : a general opinion
7 : the public voice raised in protest or approval
8 : a fit of weeping
9 : the characteristic sound or call of an animal
10a : 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

Synonyms for cry

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of cry in a Sentence

Verb The baby is crying. Is she okay? Some people cry more easily than others. He cried silently while the song played. She cried all the way home from school that day. She couldn't imagine why anyone would cry over a stupid movie. She was crying with relief. They cried tears of joy. “Help,” he cried, “Get a doctor! Quick!” I heard someone cry “Wait!” but the train pulled away anyway. She'd never heard the sound of sea gulls crying by the shore. Noun The baby's cry woke me out of a deep sleep. There was a cry of “Fire” and we all rushed for the exits. The children were playing a game and their happy cries echoed through the house. the wild cry of a coyote See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the clash profoundly unsettled her and the children, some of whom began to cry. Brandon Tensley, CNN, 21 July 2022 To make someone cry is actually not that difficult. Gerrick Kennedy, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 July 2022 Many of the former Blue Hill employees who spoke with Eater said that their work often included long hours and low pay, while enduring yelling and public humiliation to the point where Barber would allegedly make cooks cry. Elazar Sontag, Bon Appétit, 7 July 2022 Once your neighbor friend chewed a lightbulb and didn’t cry. New York Times, 7 July 2022 Upon hearing the brutal response, Mayim pretended to cry even harder. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 14 July 2022 One of the things that interviewees often ask is if they're allowed to curse and if they're allowed to cry during their talks. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, 13 July 2022 When Bilton’s younger sister, Kaitlyn, is conceived the same way a few years later, Harrison begins to cry over the millions of chicken souls crushed by factory farming each day. Janet Manley, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 The contestants and their tough love mentors grow and change as each episode progresses, supporting, encouraging and offering a shoulder to cry on. Emily Smith,, 9 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One of those emails was a desperate cry for help from Akbari. Dara Lind, ProPublica, 27 Aug. 2021 Her Grubhub submission was instead a cry for help, according to Alari and the restaurant. Andrea Salcedo, Washington Post, 24 June 2022 Warners’ box-office ledger won’t disguise that the warning is also a cry for help. Armond White, National Review, 4 Mar. 2022 This year’s letter is a full-throated cry for the kind of expansive leadership that considers needs of people and planet. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 19 Jan. 2022 The sight of General Sherman wrapped in foil this fall was a cry for help. Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2021 Edgerton argues that Brexit, in some sense, was a cry for the reemergence of national control. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 9 Oct. 2021 The song was a cry against the living hell that descended upon the people of Myanmar since February 1st, when the military overthrew the country’s civilian government. Emily Fishbein, Rolling Stone, 6 Sep. 2021 In these films, when there are romantic obstacles, the characters aren't guaranteed to surmount them — and the cathartic cry at the end is an essential part of the whole experience. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 6 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of cry


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cry


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


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French cri, derivative of crier "to cry entry 1"

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Time Traveler for cry

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The first known use of cry was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for cry


\ ˈkrī How to pronounce cry (audio) \
cried; crying

Kids Definition of cry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to shed tears : weep
2 : to make a loud call : shout, exclaim "Wait!" she cried as the car drove away.
3 : to utter a special sound or call We could hear gulls crying through the fog.


plural cries

Kids Definition of cry (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a loud call or shout (as of pain, fear, or joy)
2 : appeal entry 1 sense 2 a cry for help
3 : an act or period of weeping When she left, I had a good cry.
4 : the special sound made by an animal a hawk's cry

More from Merriam-Webster on cry

Nglish: Translation of cry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cry for Arabic Speakers


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