- to utter a prolonged, inarticulate, mournful cry, usually high-pitched or clear-sounding, as in grief or suffering: to wail with pain.
- to make mournful sounds, as music or the wind.
- to lament or mourn bitterly.
- Jazz. to perform exceptionally well.
- Slang. to express emotion musically or verbally in an exciting, satisfying way.
- to express deep sorrow for; mourn; lament; bewail: to wail the dead; to wail one's fate.
- to express in wailing; cry or say in lamentation: to wail one's grief.
- the act of wailing.
- a wailing cry, as of grief, pain, or despair.
- any similar mournful sound: the wail of an old tune.
Origin of wail
Related Words for wailingsobbing, weeping, bawling, sob, lament, tear, blubbering, bawl, mourning, yowl, snivel, blubber, weep, howl, lamentation, keening, howling, tears
Examples from the Web for wailing
Contemporary Examples of wailing
When the Iraqis resume shouting and wailing at you, Hassan translates every exclamation until you tell him to stop.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq
Nathan Bradley Bethea
August 31, 2014
In his 2000 visit to Israel, the Polish pope placed a note at the Wailing Wall seeking forgiveness for Christian anti-Semitism.Pope Francis’s Sister Souljah Moment?
May 23, 2014
The show kicks off with Tony, who has one Jewish parent and absolutely no faith, visiting the Wailing Wall.Watching Anthony Bourdain in Palestine
September 19, 2013
The entire nation is mourning the news, shell-shocked by images of wailing children fleeing the schools single file.What We Know So Far About Connecticut School Shooter Adam Lanza
December 14, 2012
Weaving through the jungle of wailing ambulances on 1st Avenue was a bright-eyed young dad, light-blue bassinet in tow.Hundreds Evacuated From NYU’s Tisch Hospital in Hurricane Sandy
October 30, 2012
Historical Examples of wailing
As I was coming by the river I heard them weeping and wailing.Opera Stories from Wagner
The sounds were those of females, and were thrillingly soft and wailing.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
Sad and mournful are thy ways, Grieving, wailing, Autumn days!Farm Ballads
When she departed there was weeping, and wailing, and waiting.Who Was Who: 5000 B. C. to Date
And there was noise—the noise of words and of wailing Indian music.Lotus Buds
- (intr) to utter a prolonged high-pitched cry, as of grief or misery
- (intr) to make a sound resembling such a crythe wind wailed in the trees
- (tr) to lament, esp with mournful sounds
- a prolonged high-pitched mournful cry or sound
Word Origin for wail
c.1400; see wail (v.).
early 14c., from Old Norse væla "to lament," from væ "woe" (see woe). Of jazz musicians, "to play very well," attested from 1955, American English slang (wailing "excellent" is attested from 1954). Related: Wailed.