\ 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 My co-workers come into my office to vent and cry; some talk about problems with anxiety. Scientific American, "Grief on the Front Line—and Beyond," 22 May 2020 Children were crying and women desperately tried to cover their faces with their saris while trying to maintain some distance from each other, Das said. Author: Aniruddha Ghosal, Julhas Alama, Anchorage Daily News, "Millions flee as cyclone batters coasts of India and Bangladesh," 20 May 2020 But there were a few signs of blessed normalcy amid the changes — the church bells ringing, a baby crying during the church announcements. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje,, "Amid coronavirus pandemic, Catholics in San Antonio celebrate Mass in public for the first time in two months," 19 May 2020 Talley may have seemed overly emotional in that scene. Because why would someone almost cry at a celebrity arriving to the Met Gala? Nandi Howard, Essence, "André Leon Talley Is Done Sitting At The Table," 19 May 2020 Call & Learn Hotline volunteer Nancy Gavin, 75, heard a baby crying in the background of one student’s call. Mel Fronczek, The Indianapolis Star, "Retired teachers volunteer for Indiana K-12 homework help hotline," 18 May 2020 Try not to cry With those concerns and other effects of the crisis in mind, school psychologists and counselors are trying to help students maintain their well-being remotely., "Missed milestones, loneliness take a toll on teens' mental health," 17 May 2020 Nothing enhances the ambiance of prestige TV like the soothing sounds of your pal’s crying baby. Popular Science, "The OnePlus 8 Pro smartphone’s infrared camera is accidentally creepy," 16 May 2020 Sarabeth Stone, a Columbus-area mother of three boys, ages 18 months to 6, recalls days when all three children have cried at the same time. cleveland, "Kids have been out of school since March 16. Here’s how teachers, parents say it’s going.," 14 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun First, perhaps in a cry for a chin rub, his sweet golden retriever Brody whacks Paul's computer with his head, freezing the weather maps and causing the graphics to stop working. Rachel Barrett, Country Living, "Adorable Dog Interrupts Meteorologist's At-Home Weather Report," 5 May 2020 Investigators had obtained records of similar cries for help from Walmart pharmacists all over the country: from Maine, North Carolina, Kansas and Washington, and other states. James Bandler, ProPublica, "Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.," 25 Mar. 2020 No more of my dense cries and heavy songs about time’s hardships, my mood, gunfights in schools, our murderous American sunshine. W. S. Di Piero, The New Yorker, "Aubade," 23 Mar. 2020 Living within limits as restrictive as hers, Hunter's swallowing exists as both liberation and annihilation, conviction through compulsion, a final stand others can't help but see as a cry for help. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch in theaters and stream at home this weekend," 6 Mar. 2020 Other unpleasant sounds, such as a baby’s cry and fingernails on a chalkboard, share some of the same features that make screams unpleasant and terrifying. Frank T. Mcandrew, The Conversation, "Why we love big, blood-curdling screams," 28 Oct. 2019 Laugh, cry and join in on the sweet sounds (yes, there was some call and response) with an adventure to Pioneertown, California. Cieja Springer, Essence, "If You Want To Walk On The Wild Side Or Sleep Under the Stars, These Airbnb Adventures Are For You," 17 June 2019 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

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

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 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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