\ 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, Scotland : 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Oliviia saw a red flash out the window and began to cry. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 Belly, Steven, and Laurel cry together when talking about Susannah's diagnosis and how summers at Cousins are going to change forever. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 19 June 2022 The world sees the necessity to cry and donate and get involved. Vogue, 18 June 2022 Insurers have also stopped selling and renewing pandemic insurance policies, leading customers who applied for coverage or policy renewals to cry foul. Joyu Wang, WSJ, 18 June 2022 Asked afterward to reflect on his decision to seek the mayor’s office — after turning aside the contest in earlier years — the candidate choked up and began to cry. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2022 As Patel talked, Phuong began to cry, but Goltzene could barely keep his eyes open and focused. Angus Chen, STAT, 2 June 2022 As the speech went on and Henry became Vecna, Brown began to cry. Emily Longeretta, Variety, 31 May 2022 One young woman even began to cry, and Fremont hugged her close with one arm, the other continuing to bolster her message and the sign. Molly Longman,, 23 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In these films, when there are romantic obstacles, the characters aren't guaranteed to surmount them — and the cathartic cry at the end is an essential part of the whole experience. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 6 June 2022 Not all of us can get away with covering our ears with our hands and letting out a cry of anguish in public, but Prince Louis is not like all of us. Sam Reed, Glamour, 2 June 2022 The area where figure skaters and their coaches wait for the scores is called the kiss-and-cry, but the overwhelming image from these Olympic Games was of crying. Joyce Rubin, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2022 Sui Wenjing and Han Cong exploded from their seats in the kiss-and-cry area, and a small and carefully chosen crowd of Chinese fans in the stands did the same, the moment their scores were read in the pairs event at the Beijing Olympics. Dave Skretta, ajc, 19 Feb. 2022 Valieva, the center of the latest Russian doping scandal, was left sobbing in the kiss-and-cry area after her scores were read. Dave Skretta,, 17 Feb. 2022 Meanwhile, Valieva was inconsolable in the kiss-and-cry area. Dave Skretta, Anchorage Daily News, 17 Feb. 2022 At the kiss-and-cry, Kagiyama sailed to the top spot. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, 10 Feb. 2022 The solitary cry sliced through the quiet that had enveloped the practice fields on the UCF campus Wednesday afternoon. Matt Murschel,, 12 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for cry


\ 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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