\ˈkrī \
cried; crying

Definition of cry 

(Entry 1 of 3)

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 3)

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

variants: or cryo-

Definition of cry- (Entry 3 of 3)

: cold : freezing cryonics cryogen

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Synonyms for cry

Synonyms: Verb

bawl, blub [chiefly British], blubber, sob, weep

Synonyms: Noun

holler, hoot, howl, shout, whoop, yell, yowl

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Examples of cry in a Sentence


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.


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

Instead, the sick lie on the ground outside, writhing and crying in pain. Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 The next day, Justin was seen again, this time with Hailey, crying in his car. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About Selena Gomez's Emotional Breakdown," 12 Oct. 2018 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 0:48 French priest slaps baby during baptism Advertisement Rev. Jacque LaCroix, a priest in France is seen on a now-viral video slapping a crying baby during a baptism. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "'All hell broke loose.' Priest throws family out of church before their mom's funeral," 2 July 2018 CBS News has obtained cellphone video from inside the Cayuga Centers in New York showing children huddled in what look like classrooms – including one crying girl who couldn't talk to her mother. CBS News, "Leaked video offers unfiltered look inside facility for separated immigrant children," 27 June 2018 Bishop has gotten past the point of crying for her sister every day. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A killer left DNA evidence behind. But Milwaukee police destroyed it.," 22 June 2018 Apparently a big part of the reason that guests started to cry was because Prince Andrew showed a lot of love for his daughter's new husband, Jack Brooksbank. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Speeches at Princess Eugenie's Wedding Reception Made Everyone Cry, Including Me," 12 Oct. 2018 Wills tries not to cry on national television and almost manages it. Melissa Locker, Time, "The Bachelorette Recap: Becca Hopes That Love Will Find Her in the Bahamas," 10 July 2018 After a few questions from Loewenstern and Ciminierti not answering them, Loewenstern started to cry. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "100-year-old mother meets daughter taken away for adoption," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Restrictions on assault weapons have proven to be a popular rallying cry for gun control advocates in the aftermath of recent mass shootings, from Parkland, Florida, to Las Vegas. German Lopez, Vox, "Washington votes to strengthen gun laws with Initiative 1639," 7 Nov. 2018 Honestly, a good cry in public can be pretty cathartic. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "Sophie Turner Explains Crying While in New York City With Joe Jonas," 17 Aug. 2018 In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and other Facebook scandals, cries to regulate the tech giant have risen. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "If You Want To Fix Facebook, Tear Down Its Walls," 31 July 2018 What began as a matter of national debate soon was concentrated down to children's cries in the dark. CBS News, "Roger Rosenblatt on why the family separation crisis touches us all," 24 June 2018 Jan couldn’t sleep; the cries in her head kept her awake. Gina Barton,, "CHAPTER 1: "NOT MY BABY"," 30 Aug. 2017 Cüneyt Çakır unjustly sent off Nani in 2013 against Real Madrid - yep, still remember that one - but despite the cries of bias in Croatia's favour, the ones who are pointing the finger are wrong this time around., "England: Who Is to Blame?," 12 July 2018 Hopefully, Little Mix will hear the impassioned cries of their fans and consider releasing LMX beyond U.K. borders. Marci Robin, Allure, "Little Mix Is Launching a Makeup Brand Called LMX — But There's a Catch," 5 July 2018 The heartbreaking pictures and the recordings of their cries are exactly the things that help us remember that, above all, these are children who tragically may never be reunited with their families. Alex Ortega & Charley Sullivan,, "What can children in cages teach us?," 2 July 2018

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"

Combining form

Greek krýos (neuter s-stem) "icy cold, frost" (of uncertain origin) + -o-

Note: Greek krýos has long been associated with Latin crusta "hard surface layer, crust" and Greek krýstallos "ice, rock crystal," though these words most likely have different explanations (see crust, crystal entry 1). The best possibilities for comparison are perhaps Old Norse hrjósa "to shiver" and Tocharian B krośce "cold" (from Proto-Tocharian *kwroscē per Douglas Adams, A Dictionary of Tocharian B, 2nd edition [Rodopi, 2013], p. 236). Old High German roso, rosa "crust, layer of ice" may not belong here if the "ice" sense is secondary. On the basis of the related derivative krȳmós "icy cold, frost, chill," a comparison has been made with Avestan xrūma- "horrible," which, if reconstructed as *kruh2-mo-, may contain Indo-European *kruh2- "(dried) blood" (see raw entry 1), but the sense development "blood" > "horror" > "chill, cold" seems quite tenuous. The vowel length in krȳmós may be in any case of secondary origin. (For details see Robert Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek [Leiden: Brill, 2010], p. 786.)

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Statistics for cry

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cry

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

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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 \
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

Comments on cry

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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