cry for


Also, cry out for; have a crying need for. Be in urgent need of, as in This wall cries for a second coat of paint, or This car is crying out for a good washing, or There is a crying need for order in this house. The figurative use of cry for, literally meaning “implore” or “weep for,” dates from the late 1500s, as does the use of crying for “demanding attention.” The first variant, alluding to actually shouting out one's needs or desires, dates from the second half of the 1800s.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.