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or miaow, miaou, miaul

[mee-ou, myou] /miˈaʊ, myaʊ/
the characteristic sound a cat makes.
a spiteful or catty remark.
verb (used without object)
to make the sound of a cat.
to make a spiteful or catty remark.
Origin of meow
1870-75; imitative Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for meow
Historical Examples
  • The big Maltese cat did not like to hear the whistle so close to his27 ears; it made his ears hurt, so he said “meow!”

  • "meow," my father said, and I believed my heart broke then and there.

    My Father, the Cat Henry Slesar
  • "I have slight suggestion, perhaps merely cat's meow and not worthy exalted attention," he offered.

    The Onslaught from Rigel Fletcher Pratt
  • He would bleed her, and his French—la, my cat can meow better French.

    The Red City S. Weir Mitchell
  • Why, if they wanted to stand on their heads and meow like cats, I would bark an accompaniment cause I like them so.

    Living Up to Billy Elizabeth Cooper
  • "They meow and cry like everything on the back fence," said the third fiddler.

  • "meow," said Black Pussy, arching her back and rubbing against his legs.

  • That is what dogs do when they bay at the moon, cats when they meow, and the birds when they sing.

    Musical Memories Camille Saint-Sans
  • A pair of yellow eyes peered around the window-sill, and a plaintive "meow" begged for admittance.

    Sandy Alice Hegan Rice
  • But if Wright did not understand me, as I hoped he would not, my husband did, and his inevitable "meow!"

    Mavis of Green Hill Faith Baldwin
British Dictionary definitions for meow


/mɪˈaʊ; mjaʊ/
(intransitive) (of a cat) to make a characteristic crying sound
an imitation of this sound
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 meow

representation of cat sound, 1842, earlier miaow, miau, meaw (1630s). Of imitative origin, cf. French miaou, German miauen, Persian maw, Japanese nya nya, Arabic nau-nau, and Joyce's mrkgnao. In Chinese, miau means "cat." As a verb by 1630s, meaw, also meawle. Cf. Old French miauer "to meow, caterwaul." Related: Meowed; meowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for meow


Related Terms

the cat's meow

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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