wail

[weyl] /weɪl/
verb (used without object)
1.
to utter a prolonged, inarticulate, mournful cry, usually high-pitched or clear-sounding, as in grief or suffering:
"to wail with pain."
2.
to make mournful sounds, as music or the wind.
3.
to lament or mourn bitterly.
4.
Jazz. to perform exceptionally well.
5.
Slang. to express emotion musically or verbally in an exciting, satisfying way.
verb (used with object)
6.
to express deep sorrow for; mourn; lament; bewail:
"to wail the dead; to wail one's fate."
7.
to express in wailing; cry or say in lamentation:
"to wail one's grief."
noun
8.
the act of wailing.
9.
a wailing cry, as of grief, pain, or despair.
10.
any similar mournful sound:
"the wail of an old tune."
Origin
1300–50; Middle English weile (v. and noun), perhaps derivative of Old English weilā(wei) well-away; compare Old English wǣlan to torment, Old Norse wǣla to wail
Related forms
wailer, noun
wailingly, adverb
unwailed, adjective
unwailing, adjective
Can be confused
wail, whale.
Example Sentences for wailing
He was convinced she had left him and started crying and wailing for his mommy.
Now they have the treaty, many of the same people are muttering and wailing about unresolved problems hidden in its leaden prose.
Wailing, which starts a typical hyrax song, indicates weight.
On cue, an argument begins about the removal of a body, accompanied by wailing and weeping.
She blogged about it to great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Fiends in human guise greeted the dawn by wailing for half an hour on didgeridoos.
We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry.
Please be the beef, please beef, pleasure is not wailing.
It was wailing and laughing, sobbing and groaning, and ever and again it shouted.
The film's dreadfully pertinent soundtrack consists of wailing, clanging music heard steadily in the background.
British Dictionary definitions for wailing
wail (weɪl)
 
vb
1.  (intr) to utter a prolonged high-pitched cry, as of grief or misery
2.  (intr) to make a sound resembling such a cry: the wind wailed in the trees
3.  (tr) to lament, esp with mournful sounds
 
n
4.  a prolonged high-pitched mournful cry or sound
 
[C14: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse vǣla to wail, Old English woe]
 
'wailer
 
n
 
'wailful
 
adj
 
'wailfully
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for wailing
wail
early 14c., from O.N. væla "to lament," from "woe" (see woe). Of jazz musicians, "to play very well," attested from 1955, Amer.Eng. slang (wailing "excellent" is attested from 1954). The noun is recorded from c.1400.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang related to wailing

wail

verb
  1. To play jazz well and feelingly : We were wailing, but nobody had a tape machine (1930s+ Jazz musicians)
  2. (also whale) To do very well; perform well (1950s+ College students fr cool talk fr jazz musicians)

[fr the notion of a well-performed blues number, with its melodious lamentations]


wailing

adjective

Excellent; wonderful; great (1954+ Black musicians)


Dictionary of American Slang
Copyright © 1986 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Difficulty index for wailing

Most English speakers likely know this word

Tile value for wailing

11
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with wailing