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[bleet] /blit/
verb (used without object)
to utter the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf or a sound resembling such a cry.
verb (used with object)
to give forth with or as if with a bleat:
He bleated his objections in a helpless rage.
to babble; prate.
the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf.
any similar sound:
the bleat of distant horns.
foolish, complaining talk; babble:
I listened to their inane bleat all evening.
Origin of bleat
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) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bleat
Historical Examples
  • "I hate all this bleat about the Middle Ages," Gilbert exclaimed.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • And as I enter the little village, I am greeted by the bleat of sheep and the low of the kine.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • I heard the bleat of a lamb or kid, and it pierced the melancholy roar of the sea.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • But though on that evening a basso did bleat, it may be that he was not bubonic.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • More like the bleat of an innocent calf,” said Roberts—“eh, Bracy?

    Fix Bay'nets George Manville Fenn
  • I hear him bleat now,” said Jack,—“about the blackest sheep I have ever seen.

    The Hoosier School-boy Edward Eggleston
  • If he was to blither, it was only fair that she should bleat back.

    Tea-Table Talk Jerome K. Jerome
  • In the fields the lambs ceased to bleat, the horses to neigh and the cows to low.

    The Sleeping Beauty C. S. Evans
  • They called and called, but the goat did not bleat back to them.

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

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
British Dictionary definitions for bleat


(intransitive) (of a sheep, goat, or calf) to utter its characteristic plaintive cry
(intransitive) to speak with any similar sound
to whine; whimper
the characteristic cry of sheep, goats, and young calves
any sound similar to this
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

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.


c.1500, from bleat (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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