• synonyms


verb (used without object)
  1. to cry or wail lustily.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter or proclaim by outcry; shout out: to bawl one's dissatisfaction; bawling his senseless ditties to the audience.
  2. to offer for sale by shouting, as a hawker: a peddler bawling his wares.
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  1. a loud shout; outcry.
  2. a period or spell of loud crying or weeping.
  3. Chiefly Midland and Western U.S. the noise made by a calf.
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Verb Phrases
  1. bawl out, Informal. to scold vociferously; reprimand or scold vigorously: Your father will bawl you out when he sees this mess.
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Origin of bawl

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin baulāre to bark < Germanic; compare Old Norse baula to low, baula cow, perhaps a conflation of belja (see bell2) with an old root *bhu-
Related formsbawl·er, nounout·bawl, verb (used with object)
Can be confusedbald balled bawledball bawl bowl


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bawler

Historical Examples

  • Does nature, even in my octogenarian carcase, run too strong that I must be still a bawler and a brawler and a treader upon corns?

    The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 24 (of 25)

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • The Bishop plays high society for her, and the bawler looks after the mob.

    The Art of Disappearing

    John Talbot Smith

British Dictionary definitions for bawler


  1. (intr) to utter long loud cries, as from pain or frustration; wail
  2. to shout loudly, as in anger
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  1. a loud shout or cry
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Derived Formsbawler, nounbawling, noun

Word Origin

C15: probably from Icelandic baula to low; related to Medieval Latin baulāre to bark, Swedish böla to low; all of imitative origin
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

Word Origin and History for bawler



mid-15c., "to howl like a dog," from Old Norse baula "to low like a cow," and/or Medieval Latin baulare "to bark like a dog," both echoic. Meaning "to shout loudly" attested from 1590s. To bawl (someone) out "reprimand loudly" is 1908, American English. Related: Bawled; bawling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper