[ wey-ling ]
See synonyms for wailing on Thesaurus.com
  1. uttering a prolonged, inarticulate, mournful cry, usually high-pitched or clear-sounding, as in grief or suffering: In the village we passed a funeral procession, the wailing widow following behind the body of her husband.

  2. making a mournful sound, as a siren, music, the wind, etc.: A wailing police siren nears, passes, and fades.

  1. complaining, protesting, whining, or crying: He rubbed the bare foot of the wailing toddler and planted a kiss on it.They’re always trying to correct the market, usually in the interests of some wailing pressure group.

  2. Slang. expressing emotion musically or verbally in an exciting, satisfying way: The song celebrates with a Cajun-flavored stomp accompanied by a wailing fiddle and screaming electric guitar.

  1. a mournful cry or sound, or the act of making such a sound: The wailing of the mourners rose and fell, merging with the drums and the shaman’s chants.

  2. an act or instance of complaining, protesting, etc.: “All art is propaganda, despite the wailing of purists,” she sneered.

  1. Slang. the act of expressing emotion musically or verbally in an exciting, satisfying way: At this live show from 1974, the soulful wailing of the chorus in the background is utterly spine-tingling.

Origin of wailing

First recorded in 1350–1400; wail + -ing2 for the adjective senses; wail + -ing1 for the noun senses

Other words from wailing

  • wail·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·wail·ing, adjective

Words Nearby wailing

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use wailing in a sentence