\ 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 cryhounds in full cry
(2) : a peak of activity or excitement used in the phrase in full crya 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 Sarah Wire offered a firsthand view of masks, hallway contortions and apologies for the crying baby in the background of telephone calls. Los Angeles Times, "COVID-19 hits the red states," 8 May 2020 Another reason to cry in your beer at home: The debut of the Traveling Beer Gardens has been delayed. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Coronavirus, not cold weather, is the reason the Traveling Beer Gardens are delayed for summer," 8 May 2020 Lisa Vecore remembered crying nearly every day at home when the virus first hit. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, "4 siblings face the coronavirus front lines together," 7 May 2020 Now the outrage is reversed as the Trump campaign cries foul over a progressive Super Pac spot on the President’s handling of the coronavirus. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s First Amendment Education," 3 May 2020 Allison, eyes watering from the tear gas and crying from the frightening chase, took refuge in the room of a classmate. Paula Schleis,, "She told guardsmen at Kent State 'Flowers are better than bullets!' Then a bullet killed her.," 2 May 2020 He was supposed to visit for a half-hour but stayed for two hours and 20 minutes, hugging and talking with hundreds of devastated people in encounters that were so heart-wrenching that aides and even Secret Service agents cried. Peter Baker,, "Amid a rising death toll, Trump leaves the grieving to others," 2 May 2020 The current crisis might instead prompt us to ask whether companies domiciled in tax havens have any right to come crying to governments for a handout. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "You Should Politicize the Coronavirus," 1 May 2020 The sublime inventiveness of such Hollywood classics remains an inspiration to filmmakers—as a sort of raw material, a primal set of themes and methods, styles and images that nearly cry out not to be imitated but to be taken apart. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: “Fallen Angel,” a Frenzied Otto Preminger Romance on Turner Classic Movies," 1 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chaos coming to town The NCAA had the chance to get out in front of this issue years ago, to control the narrative and mute the loudest cries for college athletes to earn what the market will pay them. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: NCAA softens name, image and likeness stance, and chaos will follow," 29 Apr. 2020 Since the Snoo makes its rocking decisions locally using heuristics about a baby's cry, the only functionality caregivers lose by turning off the Wi-Fi is sleep-tracking visualizations and some settings controls in the Snoo app. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Hackers Made the Snoo Smart Bassinet Shake and Play Loud Sounds," 16 Apr. 2020 WASHINGTON - Thursday’s White House news conference began and, within minutes, so did the cries of alarm on Twitter: Seventy-nine year-old Anthony Fauci has become the grandfatherly captain of the coronavirus crisis. Ellen Mccarthy, Ben Terris, Anchorage Daily News, "Anthony Fauci was ready for this, even if America was not," 20 Mar. 2020 Global markets are already fleeing to the safety of U.S. Treasuries, which is effectively a cry for the U.S. government to do a lot more deficit spending. Jeff Spross, TheWeek, "The coronavirus is hitting the Chinese economy at the worst time," 12 Feb. 2020 In the meantime, make sure to stock up on tissues for a good cry! Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Are REELING After the Show’s Big Episode Announcement," 5 Feb. 2020 In both species, the bird lacking the tokens often uttered soft cries to get their partner’s attention. Virginia Morell, Science | AAAS, "These parrots are the first birds observed showing kindness to others," 9 Jan. 2020 Democrats, including presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and former first lady Michelle Obama, have made vote-by-mail a rallying cry while President Donald Trump opposes changes. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "Amid vote-by-mail push, civil rights groups say in-person voting still needed during pandemic," 20 Apr. 2020 Indeed, the refrain has flourished into a rallying cry among an international public on social media, despite the Chinese government’s attempts to co-opt it as a slogan for ethnonational patriotism. Belinda Kong, The Conversation, "How Chinese people came together when separated by quarantine, creating hope, humor and art," 18 Mar. 2020

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

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for cry


How to pronounce cry (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cry

Spanish Central: Translation of cry

Nglish: Translation of cry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cry for Arabic Speakers

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