Word Origin & History
early 13c., from O.Fr. crier, from L. quiritare "to wail, shriek," var. of quirritare "to squeal like a pig," from *quis, echoic of squealing, despite ancient folk etymology that traces it to "call for the help of the Quirites," the Roman constabulary. The meaning was extended 13c. to weep, which it
largely replaced by 16c. Most languages, like Eng., use the general word for "cry out, shout, wail" to also mean "weep, shed tears to express pain or grief." Romance and Slavic, however, use words for this whose ultimate meaning is "beat (the breast)," cf. Fr. pleurer, Sp. llorar, both from L. plorare "cry aloud," but probably originally plodere "beat, clap the hands." Also It. piangere (cognate with Fr. plaindre "lament, pity") from L. plangere, originally "beat," but especially of the breast, as a sign of grief. Crybaby is first recorded 1851, Amer.Eng. U.S. colloquial for crying out loud is 1924, probably another euphemism for for Christ's sake.