a shrill, whistlelike sound or loud raucous shout made to express disapproval at a theater, meeting, etc.
an instrument for producing such a sound.

verb (used without object)

to sound catcalls.

verb (used with object)

to express disapproval of by catcalls.

Origin of catcall

First recorded in 1650–60; cat + call
Related formscat·call·er, noun

Synonyms for catcall

1. boo, hiss, jeer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for catcall

derision, jeer, boo, hoot, whistle, hiss, shout, raspberry, gibe

Examples from the Web for catcall

Contemporary Examples of catcall

Historical Examples of catcall

  • He found that antiquaries were much divided in opinion as to the origin of the catcall.

  • The essayist, however, is disposed to hold that the catcall is originally a piece of English music.

  • The conveyance of a catcall to the theatre evidences a predisposition to uproarious censure.

  • The soldier, addressed put a finger to the sound side of his mouth and uttered a catcall.

    The Burning Spear

    John Galsworthy

British Dictionary definitions for catcall



a shrill whistle or cry expressing disapproval, as at a public meeting, etc


to utter such a call (at); deride with catcalls
Derived Formscatcaller, noun
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 catcall

1650s, a type of noisemaker used to express dissatisfaction in play-houses, from cat (n.) + call (n.); presumably because it sounded like an angry cat. As a verb, attested from 1734.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper