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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bleating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the far corner a child shared with a bleating kid the quilted covering which constituted the bed of the establishment.

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

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
  • The grunt is very different from the bleating of a lamb or the bawling of a domestic calf.

  • Now I am so drunk that I can enjoy listening to the bleating of the sheep.

    Modern Icelandic Plays Jhann Sigurjnsson
  • Jan computed a table of lamb percentages on the menu and I felt like bleating.

    Kenny Leona Dalrymple
  • Sheep were bleating high up on the frost-nipped side of the fell.

    A Son of Hagar Sir Hall Caine
  • Their leader is certainly not less ignorant than the bleating flock at his heels.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • The bleating of the kids woke them the next morning earlier than usual.

    Masterman Ready Captain Frederick Marryat
  • Then a bleating fawn in a fern-covert close by made her stir.

British Dictionary definitions for bleating


(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 bleating



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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