\ 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, Scottish : 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As a result, boys cry far less, and internalize their emotions far more. John Duffy, CNN, "Teen stress has been heightened by a year of pandemic. Here's how to help them," 4 May 2021 And, if that pharmaceutical company disproportionately made the vaccine available to rich, white citizens, people would cry foul. Brennan Barnard, Forbes, "Demanding Supply In College Admission: White Paper Calls For Expansion, Innovation At Selective Schools," 27 Apr. 2021 That rumor that Meghan made her sister-in-law, Duchess Kate of Cambridge, cry in a dust-up before the wedding? Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Meghan and Harry's Oprah bombshell: They secretly got married three days before royal wedding," 8 Mar. 2021 Trying to marshal forward, never cry, never feeling it. Kaitlyn Greenidge, Harper's BAZAAR, "“The Real Fight Is to Help People”: Why Lindsey Boylan Decided to Speak Out," 4 Mar. 2021 Dariela would sometimes cry in front of her daughter, despite herself. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "A Deportation Nightmare in the Bronx," 28 Feb. 2021 Headlines cry that the U.S. Capitol was under siege, attacked, assaulted, with mobs storming the gates, anarchy abroad in the U.S.A., as insurrectionists tried to topple the U.S. government. Ahmed Tharwat, Star Tribune, "America thought coups were only an export product," 11 Jan. 2021 In the beginning, Edith would cry through the classes., "Edith Turner heads down a street in Pontiac in the early morning hours on Friday, October 18, 2019, to the bus stop on Telegraph Road...," 18 Apr. 2021 After a commercial break, Osbourne told a teary-eyed Underwood not to cry. Dorany Pineda, Los Angeles Times, "Sharon Osbourne is ‘angry’ and ‘hurt’ since getting fired from ‘The Talk’," 17 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun True or not, the cry came that Syndergaard was exactly what the Twins needed, a bona fide No. 1 starter, to take advantage of a lineup producing home runs at a record pace. Star Tribune, "Byron Buxton's emergence gives Twins fans hope Miguel Sano eventually will figure things out," 4 May 2021 But the singer doesn’t try to sound like Cooke on the tune, which is a somber cry for people to lift their voices set to acoustic guitar, church organ, and a slow-beating tambourine. Rolling Stone, "See Performances of Best Original Song Nominees at Oscars 2021," 26 Apr. 2021 Starting pitchers Jesus Luzardo and Chris Bassitt borrowed the surfer cry as a reminder to the team to just stay on the surfboard, ride out whatever bumps the wave might be giving you. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's win streak snapped on a waveless Sunday, but they're ready to catch another," 25 Apr. 2021 The dying man’s every agonizing cry echoed in the audio. Washington Post, "The verdict: His life mattered," 21 Apr. 2021 Horns began blaring across the city as the crowd gleefully chanted George Floyd‘s name, no longer an angry cry, but one of happiness. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "'This means everything': Minneapolis joyfully chants George Floyd's name after Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murder," 20 Apr. 2021 Netizens didn’t like the new H&M statement much better that the first one, and an internet cry rang out for an apology. Rick Helfenbein, Forbes, "When China Rings The Bell In Xinjiang - Retail Crumbles," 12 Apr. 2021 In fact it was born in the fever dreams of California politicians, who inaugurated and promoted the cry to exclude Japanese residents from the West Coast. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The roots of anti-Asian violence can be found in California history," 22 Mar. 2021 Each character displays emotional strength and weakness, reflected in the dance, from the opening cry to the final, resigned droop of Nakamura’s arm. Matthew J. Palm,, "Orlando Ballet mixed program’s fire is in the modern | Review," 19 Mar. 2021

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cry

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for cry



English Language Learners Definition of cry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to produce tears from your eyes often while making loud sounds because of pain, sorrow, or other strong emotions
: to shout or say something loudly
of a bird or animal : to make the loud sound that is usual for a particular type of bird or animal



English Language Learners Definition of cry (Entry 2 of 2)

: a loud sound that someone makes to express pain, hunger, sadness, etc.
: something that is said loudly : a shout or call
: a loud sound made by an animal or bird


\ 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cry

Nglish: Translation of cry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cry for Arabic Speakers

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