• synonyms


or mi·aow, mi·aou

[mee-ou, myou]
  1. the characteristic sound a cat makes.
  2. a spiteful or catty remark.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make the sound of a cat.
  2. to make a spiteful or catty remark.
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Sometimes mi·aul [mee-oul, mee-awl] /miˈaʊl, miˈɔl/.

Origin of meow

First recorded in 1870–75; imitative


[mee-ou, myou]
noun, verb (used without object)
  1. meow.
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Also mi·aou, mi·aul [mee-oul, mee-awl] /miˈaʊl, miˈɔl/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for miaul

Historical Examples

  • The startled animal uttered a 'miaul' of alarm and darted back again, making a horrible rustling.

    London to Ladysmith via Pretoria

    Winston Spencer Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for miaul


  1. (intr) another word for meow
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miaou or miaow miaul (mɪˈaʊl, mjaʊl)

  1. (intr) (of a cat) to make a characteristic crying sound
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  1. an imitation of this sound
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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 miaul



representation of cat sound, 1842, earlier miaow, miau, meaw (1630s). Of imitative origin, cf. French miaou, German miauen, Persian maw, Japanese nya nya, Arabic nau-nau, and Joyce's mrkgnao. In Chinese, miau means "cat." As a verb by 1630s, meaw, also meawle. Cf. Old French miauer "to meow, caterwaul." Related: Meowed; meowing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper