ululate was our Word of the Day on 06/08/2016. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of ululate in a Sentence
a widow ululating in sorrow
Arab women ululating with grief.
Recent Examples of ululate from the Web
One old man with missing teeth shakes his hips as others ululate during a service at Yoyo Pentecostal Church.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ululate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
When Should You Use ululate?
"When other birds are still, the screech owls take up the strain, like mourning women their ancient u-lu-lu." When Henry David Thoreau used "u-lu-lu" to imitate the cry of screech owls and mourning women in that particular passage from Walden, he was re-enacting the etymology of ululate (a word he likely knew). Ululate descends from the Latin verb ululare. That Latin root carried the same meaning as our modern English word, and it likely originated in the echoes of the rhythmic wailing sound associated with it. Even today, ululate often refers to ritualistic or expressive wailing performed at times of mourning or celebration or used to show approval.
Origin and Etymology of ululate
Latin ululatus, past participle of ululare, of imitative origin
First Known Use: circa 1623See Words from the same year
ULULATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ululate for English Language Learners
: to cry loudly
Seen and Heard
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