1

wail

play
verb \ ˈwāl \

Definition of wail

intransitive verb
1 :to express sorrow audibly :lament
2 :to make a sound suggestive of a mournful cry
3 :to express dissatisfaction plaintively :complain
transitive verb
1 archaic :bewail
2 :to say or express plaintively
  • wailed that her cake was ruined

wailer

play \ˈwā-lər\ noun

Examples of wail in a Sentence

  1. The child started wailing after she stumbled and fell.

  2. A saxophone wailed in the background.

  3. No! I don't want to go! he wailed.

  4. She wailed that the vacation was ruined.

Recent Examples of wail from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of wail

Middle English weilen, waylen, perhaps modification (influenced by Middle English weilawei wellaway) of Old Norse væla, vāla to wail; akin to Old Norse vei woe — more at woe


2

wail

noun

Definition of wail

1 :the act or practice of wailing :loud lamentation
2 a :a usually prolonged cry or sound expressing grief or pain
b :a sound suggestive of wailing
  • the wail of an air-raid siren
c :a querulous expression of grievance :complaint

Examples of wail in a Sentence

  1. the wail of a siren

  2. a prolonged wail arose from every corner of the city as the victims of the earthquake were unearthed from the rubble

Recent Examples of wail from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of wail

15th century


WAIL Defined for English Language Learners

wail

play
verb

Definition of wail for English Language Learners

  • : to make a loud, long cry of sadness or pain

  • : to make a long, high sound

  • : to complain in a loud voice


wail

noun

Definition of wail for English Language Learners

  • : a long cry of sadness or pain

  • : a long, high sound


WAIL Defined for Kids

1

wail

play
verb \ ˈwāl \

Definition of wail for Students

wailed; wailing
1 :to make a long, loud cry of pain or grief
2 :to complain with a loud voice

2

wail

noun

Definition of wail for Students

:a long cry of grief or pain


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