follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

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
1300-1350
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for wailed
  • We were only a few blocks from home when the air-raid siren wailed.
  • Coyotes wailed in the desert, echoing each other from spot to spot.
  • He wailed that he would probably lose his job and appeared to be completely distraught.
  • The priests yelled, the paid mummies howled and wailed and the cymbals clashed with a vengeance.
  • And the whole world heard him, and up te his latest breath wailed with keen eager ness for everything he should say and write.
  • The silent observer behind the post wailed for that moment, then slipped noiselessly inside the gate and hid in the shadow there.
  • But she looked and wailed for him confident that he would some day come into her life again.
  • They wailed patiently for many weeks to be confronted by their accusers in court to repel the charges.
British Dictionary definitions for wailed

wail

/weɪl/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to utter a prolonged high-pitched cry, as of grief or misery
2.
(intransitive) to make a sound resembling such a cry: the wind wailed in the trees
3.
(transitive) to lament, esp with mournful sounds
noun
4.
a prolonged high-pitched mournful cry or sound
Derived Forms
wailer, noun
wailful, adjective
wailfully, adverb
Word Origin
C14: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse vǣla to wail, Old English woe
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wailed

wail

v.

early 14c., from Old Norse væla "to lament," from "woe" (see woe). Of jazz musicians, "to play very well," attested from 1955, American English slang (wailing "excellent" is attested from 1954). Related: Wailed.

n.

c.1400; see wail (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for wailed

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]


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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for wail

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for wailed

10
11
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for wailed