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2017 Word of the Year

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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bleating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sheep were bleating high up on the frost-nipped side of the fell.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • His lower jaw had been trembling all the time and his voice was like the bleating of a sick goat.

    The Shadow-Line Joseph Conrad
  • The bleating of the new-dropt lambs was faintly heard from the fields.

  • Simultaneously she remembered that she had not heard the bleating of the sheep.

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
  • The bleating of the fawn at once recalls the mother to its side.

    The Hunters' Feast Mayne Reid
  • bleating like the fawn they would draw the timid dam to her death.

    Daniel Boone John S. C. Abbott
  • Now I am so drunk that I can enjoy listening to the bleating of the sheep.

    Modern Icelandic Plays

    Jhann Sigurjnsson
  • There's a shepherd driving his flock from the fold, bleating; and the lowing of cattle.

    The Violin George Hart
  • He heard the bleating of the ——s and the twitter of birds among the trees.

    English Synonyms and Antonyms James Champlin Fernald
British Dictionary definitions for bleating

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 bleating

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.

bleat

n.

c.1500, from bleat (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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