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bleat

[bleet] /blit/
verb (used without object)
1.
to utter the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf or a sound resembling such a cry.
verb (used with object)
2.
to give forth with or as if with a bleat:
He bleated his objections in a helpless rage.
3.
to babble; prate.
noun
4.
the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf.
5.
any similar sound:
the bleat of distant horns.
6.
foolish, complaining talk; babble:
I listened to their inane bleat all evening.
Origin of bleat
1000
before 1000; Middle English bleten, Old English blǣtan; cognate with Dutch blaten, Old High German blāzen; akin to Latin flēre to weep
Related forms
bleater, noun
bleatingly, adverb
outbleat, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bleat
Historical Examples
  • "Little goat, bleat; little table, rise;" and she sat at the table and ate and drank till she had had enough.

  • I heard the bleat of a lamb or kid, and it pierced the melancholy roar of the sea.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • A jumble of packing-cases with something twisted in a corner to signify a bleat.

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • But though on that evening a basso did bleat, it may be that he was not bubonic.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • When the sheep all bleat together, it sounds very much like the shrieking of the bagpipes.

    The Wee Scotch Piper Madeline Brandeis
  • More like the bleat of an innocent calf,” said Roberts—“eh, Bracy?

    Fix Bay'nets George Manville Fenn
  • I guess the bleat unravelled itself pretty clearly for all of us; or at least, it seemed plain enough.

    The Wreckers Francis Lynde
  • In the fields the lambs ceased to bleat, the horses to neigh and the cows to low.

    The Sleeping Beauty C. S. Evans
  • And yet I am not going to admit that it is a quack or a bleat; and it isn't a screech or a squeal or a sob.

  • They looked at me with hard gray eyes, without a bleat or a low.

    The Maine Woods Henry David Thoreau
British Dictionary definitions for bleat

bleat

/bliːt/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of a sheep, goat, or calf) to utter its characteristic plaintive cry
2.
(intransitive) to speak with any similar sound
3.
to whine; whimper
noun
4.
the characteristic cry of sheep, goats, and young calves
5.
any sound similar to this
6.
a weak complaint or whine
Derived Forms
bleater, noun
bleating, noun, adjective
Word Origin
Old English blǣtan; related to Old High German blāzen, Dutch blaten, Latin flēre to weep; see blare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bleat
v.

Old English blætan, from West Germanic *bhle- (cf. Dutch blaten "to bleat"), of imitative origin (cf. Greek blekhe "a bleating; the wailing of children," Old Church Slavonic blejat "to bleat," Latin flere "to weep"). Related: Bleated; bleating.

n.

c.1500, from bleat (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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