\ 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

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 The hardest thing for me was to try not to cry the entire time I was supposed to be laying there. Lynette Rice,, 16 Jan. 2022 The very first episode shows a girl running helplessly through the trees, stopping to cry, and then taking off like her life depends on it. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 14 Jan. 2022 The employee estimates that there was a time when Dinh made somebody cry at least every other week. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, 11 Jan. 2022 This stands in contrast to the top-down, conservative style of parenting that tells children to cry it out and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Ariel Levy, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 If Binta even dropped one grain of rice on the ground, her grandmother would tell her that the rice would cry. Daphne Ewing-chow, Forbes, 1 Jan. 2022 Anthony waited to cry until his father was out of sight. Evan Allen,, 30 Dec. 2021 Too weak to cry, the little girl rubs her ears in pain. Anna Coren, CNN, 22 Dec. 2021 Annie was the only witness who did not cry while testifying, and clearly articulated her account of how Maxwell enabled Epstein's behavior. Nathalie Nieves, CBS News, 21 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This was apparent last year when Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, alleged in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that Kate had made her cry during a disagreement over flower girl dresses in the run-up to Meghan and Harry's 2019 wedding. Danica Kirka, ajc, 8 Jan. 2022 Whether the teenager’s tears were the product of the sharp pain shooting through her legs or the raw emotions on the occasion of her landmark 15th birthday celebration was unclear even to her parents, who rarely see her cry. Maya Miller, ProPublica, 30 Dec. 2021 Oh no, not sad picture-in-picture Rodney watching his beloved Mom cry during the hometown date! Kristen Baldwin,, 7 Dec. 2021 When their baby let out a faint cry after a nurse pierced her tiny foot for a blood sample, the new mother did not miss a beat. New York Times, 26 Dec. 2021 Adelaida let out a shriek and then began wailing, a deep guttural cry. Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2021 Hartle was among those in Nevada who raised the cry against election fraud. Christina A. Cassidy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 Dec. 2021 Hartle was among those in Nevada who raised the cry against election fraud. Christina A. Cassidy,, 14 Dec. 2021 When Barbuto was forced to close, in May, 2019, after the building was sold, a collective cry went up from neighborhood fixtures and restaurant lovers alike. Shauna Lyon, The New Yorker, 3 Dec. 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

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

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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
: 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

Nglish: Translation of cry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cry for Arabic Speakers


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