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 formsbleat·er, nounbleat·ing·ly, adverbout·bleat, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bleated

Historical Examples of bleated

  • "The both of 'em says they're goin' to do fer you," bleated Mr. Bardlock.

  • He bleated in distress and scrambled out of that hard and painful place.

  • They came to me separately: one bleated, another screamed, one howled.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • Some of them bleated like lambs, and some of them turled like turtles.

  • "It's a cheap, plain trick," bleated the aged steamship manager.

British Dictionary definitions for bleated



(intr) (of a sheep, goat, or calf) to utter its characteristic plaintive cry
(intr) 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 Formsbleater, nounbleating, noun, adjective

Word Origin for bleat

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

Word Origin and History for bleated



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