hue and cry


Definition of hue and cry

1a : a loud outcry formerly used in the pursuit of one who is suspected of a crime
b : the pursuit of a suspect or a written proclamation for the capture of a suspect
2 : a clamor of alarm or protest
3 : hubbub

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Did you know?

Let's say it's the Middle Ages in England and a villainous highwayman has just made off with your purse of gold. What do you do? You can't call 911, or even the police, because in medieval England there was no organized police force (much less telephones). Instead, the job of fighting crime fell to ordinary citizens. If you were the victim of or a witness to a crime, you were expected to make a lot of noise - yelling something like "stop thief!" - and anyone who heard your "hue and cry" was legally bound to join in the pursuit of the criminal. Forms of the term "hue and cry" date from at least the 13th century and are first encountered in the Anglo-French legal documents of that period. Ultimately, it can be traced to the Old French words hue, meaning "outcry" or "noise," and cri, meaning "cry."

Examples of hue and cry in a Sentence

There was a hue and cry in opposition to the film. the hue and cry in the classroom when someone let loose a snake
Recent Examples on the Web There was a lot of hue and cry over that process, with some Republicans crying foul, but the process worked. Andy Meek, BGR, 19 Apr. 2021 The interview will set off a hue and cry from the royal family and the British tabloids. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 8 Mar. 2021 Black actresses give voice this winter to three gifted singers who raised a soul-stirring hue and cry destined to resound through the ages. Hugh Hart, Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 2021 Even as the hue and cry on the internet are loud, experts suspect the switch is limited to a tiny section of privacy-conscious users and amplified on their groups. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, 12 Jan. 2021 When morning came, there was a huge hue and cry as the theft of half the 200 gifts was discovered, leaving adults high and dry. Liz Hardaway,, 23 Dec. 2020 As for Gradishar, the hue and cry in Denver after he was denied entry last week was the same kind of disappointment expressed by supporters of coaches Tom Flores (two Super Bowl titles) and Don Coryell (offensive innovator). Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, 21 Jan. 2020 There was, of course, the hue and cry that the league should push things back. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, 15 Mar. 2020 The controversial sentence was part of a long answer setting out the administration’s strategy on ventilators that has, despite all the hue and cry, clearly worked. Rich Lowry, National Review, 19 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hue and 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 hue and cry

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hue and cry

hue outcry

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Time Traveler for hue and cry

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The first known use of hue and cry was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hue and cry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for hue and cry

hue and cry


English Language Learners Definition of hue and cry

: an angry protest about something

More from Merriam-Webster on hue and cry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hue and cry Encyclopedia article about hue and cry


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