- to utter a prolonged, inarticulate, mournful cry, usually high-pitched or clear-sounding, as in grief or suffering: to wail with pain.
- to make mournful sounds, as music or the wind.
- to lament or mourn bitterly.
- Jazz. to perform exceptionally well.
- Slang. to express emotion musically or verbally in an exciting, satisfying way.
- to express deep sorrow for; mourn; lament; bewail: to wail the dead; to wail one's fate.
- to express in wailing; cry or say in lamentation: to wail one's grief.
- the act of wailing.
- a wailing cry, as of grief, pain, or despair.
- any similar mournful sound: the wail of an old tune.
Origin of wail
Examples from the Web for wail
Linda looked at her as she buried her face and began to wail.Her Father's Daughter
She was too terrified to add her weeping to the wail of the wind—it would have been too ghastly.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
It's the wail of a lost spirit, loosed temporarily from the horrors of purgatory.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
The voice changed into what was almost a wail of indignation.The Coryston Family
Mrs. Humphry Ward
No shriek, no wail, no word succeeded—all was as silent as the grave.
- (intr) to utter a prolonged high-pitched cry, as of grief or misery
- (intr) to make a sound resembling such a crythe wind wailed in the trees
- (tr) to lament, esp with mournful sounds
- a prolonged high-pitched mournful cry or sound
Word Origin and History for wail
early 14c., from Old Norse væla "to lament," from væ "woe" (see woe). Of jazz musicians, "to play very well," attested from 1955, American English slang (wailing "excellent" is attested from 1954). Related: Wailed.
c.1400; see wail (v.).