demanding attention or remedy; critical; severe: a crying evil.
reprehensible; odious; notorious: a crying shame.

Origin of crying

First recorded in 1300–50, crying is from the Middle English word cryenge. See cry, -ing2
Related formscry·ing·ly, adverbun·cry·ing, adjective



verb (used without object), cried, cry·ing.

to utter inarticulate sounds, especially of lamentation, grief, or suffering, usually with tears.
to weep; shed tears, with or without sound.
to call loudly; shout; yell (sometimes followed by out).
to demand resolution or strongly indicate a particular disposition: The rise in crime cried out for greater police protection.
to give forth vocal sounds or characteristic calls, as animals; yelp; bark.
(of a hound or pack) to bay continuously and excitedly in following a scent.
(of tin) to make a noise, when bent, like the crumpling of paper.

verb (used with object), cried, cry·ing.

to utter or pronounce loudly; call out.
to announce publicly as for sale; advertise: to cry one's wares.
to beg or plead for; implore: to cry mercy.
to bring (oneself) to a specified state by weeping: The infant cried itself to sleep.

noun, plural cries.

the act or sound of crying; any loud utterance or exclamation; a shout, scream, or wail.
clamor; outcry.
a fit of weeping: to have a good cry.
the utterance or call of an animal.
a political or party slogan.
an oral proclamation or announcement.
a call of wares for sale, services available, etc., as by a street vendor.
public report.
an opinion generally expressed.
an entreaty; appeal.
Fox Hunting.
  1. a pack of hounds.
  2. a continuous baying of a hound or a pack in following a scent.

Verb Phrases

cry down, to disparage; belittle: Those people cry down everyone who differs from them.
cry off, to break a promise, agreement, etc.: We made arrangements to purchase a house, but the owner cried off at the last minute.
cry up, to praise; extol: to cry up one's profession.

Origin of cry

1175–1225; (v.) Middle English crien < Anglo-French, Old French crier < Vulgar Latin *crītāre for Latin quirītāre to cry out in protest, make a public cry; associated by folk etymology with Quirītēs Quirites; (noun) < Anglo-French, Old French cri, noun derivative of the v.
Related formscoun·ter·cry, noun, plural coun·ter·cries.

Synonyms for cry

Synonym study

3. Cry, shout, bellow, roar refer to kinds of loud articulate or inarticulate sounds. Cry is the general word: to cry out. To shout is to raise the voice loudly in uttering words or other articulate sounds: He shouted to his companions. Bellow refers to the loud, deep cry of a bull, moose, etc., or, somewhat in deprecation, to human utterance that suggests such a sound: The speaker bellowed his answer. Roar refers to a deep, hoarse, rumbling or vibrant cry, often of tumultuous volume: The crowd roared approval. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crying

Contemporary Examples of crying

Historical Examples of crying

  • Maggie had stood on the hearthrug, in her large white apron, crying.

  • She dropped her head on his arm, and he saw that she was crying.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Her voice was muffled, and he knew then that she was crying.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • She had come through so much that every nerve was crying in passionate protest.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • If you have the pleasure of scolding, I surely can have that of crying.

British Dictionary definitions for crying



(prenominal) notorious; lamentable (esp in the phrase crying shame)


verb cries, crying or cried

(intr) to utter inarticulate sounds, esp when weeping; sob
(intr) to shed tears; weep
(intr usually foll by out) to scream or shout in pain, terror, etc
(tr often foll by out) to utter or shout (words of appeal, exclamation, fear, etc)
(intr often foll by out) (of animals, birds, etc) to utter loud characteristic sounds
(tr) to hawk or sell by public announcementto cry newspapers
to announce (something) publicly or in the streets
(intr foll by for) to clamour or beg
Scot to call
cry for the moon to desire the unattainable
cry one's eyes out or cry one's heart out to weep bitterly
cry quits or cry mercy to give up a task, fight, etc

noun plural cries

the act or sound of crying; a shout, exclamation, scream, or wail
the characteristic utterance of an animal or birdthe cry of gulls
Scot a call
archaic an oral announcement, esp one made by town criers
a fit of weeping
hunting the baying of a pack of hounds hunting their quarry by scent
a pack of hounds
a far cry
  1. a long way
  2. something very different
in full cry (esp of a pack of hounds) in hot pursuit of a quarry

Word Origin for cry

C13: from Old French crier, from Latin quirītāre to call for help
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 crying



early 13c., "beg, implore," from Old French crier, from Vulgar Latin *critare, from Latin quiritare "to wail, shriek" (source of Italian gridare, Old Spanish cridar, Spanish and Portuguese gritar), of uncertain origin; perhaps a variant of quirritare "to squeal like a pig," from *quis, echoic of squealing, despite ancient folk etymology that traces it to "call for the help of the Quirites," the Roman constabulary. The meaning was extended 13c. to weep, which it largely replaced by 16c. Related: Cried; crying.

Most languages, in common with English, use the general word for "cry out, shout, wail" to also mean "weep, shed tears to express pain or grief." Romance and Slavic, however, use words for this whose ultimate meaning is "beat (the breast)," cf. French pleurer, Spanish llorar, both from Latin plorare "cry aloud," but probably originally plodere "beat, clap the hands." Also Italian piangere (cognate with French plaindre "lament, pity") from Latin plangere, originally "beat," but especially of the breast, as a sign of grief. U.S. colloquial for crying out loud is 1924, probably another euphemism for for Christ's sake.



late 13c., from cry (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper