from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To shed tears, especially as a result of strong emotion such as grief, sorrow, pain, or joy.
  • intransitive verb To call loudly; shout.
  • intransitive verb To utter a characteristic sound or call. Used of an animal.
  • intransitive verb To demand or require immediate action or remedy.
  • intransitive verb To utter loudly; call out.
  • intransitive verb To proclaim or announce in public.
  • intransitive verb To bring into a particular condition by weeping.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To beg for; implore.
  • noun A loud utterance of an emotion, such as fear, anger, or despair.
  • noun A loud exclamation; a shout or call.
  • noun A fit of weeping.
  • noun An urgent entreaty or appeal.
  • noun A public or general demand or complaint.
  • noun A common view or general report.
  • noun An advertising of wares by calling out.
  • noun A rallying call or signal.
  • noun A slogan, especially a political one.
  • noun The characteristic call or utterance of an animal.
  • noun The baying of hounds during the chase.
  • noun A pack of hounds.
  • noun Obsolete Clamor; outcry.
  • noun Obsolete A public announcement; a proclamation.
  • idiom (cry havoc) To sound an alarm; warn.
  • idiom (eyes/heart) To weep inconsolably for a long time.
  • idiom (cry on (someone's) shoulder) To tell one's problems to someone else in an attempt to gain sympathy or consolation.
  • idiom (cry over spilled milk) To regret in vain what cannot be undone or rectified.
  • idiom (cry wolf) To raise a false alarm.
  • idiom (for crying out loud) Used to express annoyance or astonishment.
  • idiom (in full cry) In hot pursuit, as hounds hunting.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any loud or passionate utterance; clamor; outcry; a vehement expression of feeling or desire, articulate or inarticulate: as, a cry of joy, triumph, surprise, pain, supplication, etc.
  • noun A loud inarticulate sound uttered by man or beast, as in pain or anger, or to attract attention.
  • noun Loud lamentation or wailing; hence, the act of weeping; a fit of weeping.
  • noun Public notice or advertisement by outcry, as hawkers give of their wares; proclamation, as by a town crier.
  • noun Public or general accusation; evil report or fame.
  • noun A pack of dogs.
  • noun Hence In contempt, a pack or company of persons.
  • noun A word or phrase used in battle, as a shout to encourage or rally soldiers; a battle-cry or war-cry.
  • noun A party catchword; an object for the attainment of which insistence and iteration are employed for partizan purposes; some topic, event, etc., which is used, or the importance of which is magnified, in a partizan manner.
  • noun The peculiar crackling noise made by metallic tin when bent.
  • To speak earnestly or with a loud voice; call loudly; exclaim or proclaim with vehemence, as in an earnest appeal or prayer, in giving public notice, or to attract attention: with to or unto, formerly sometimes on or upon, before the person addressed.
  • Specifically, to call for or require redress or remedy; appeal; make a demand.
  • To utter a loud, sharp, or vehement inarticulate sound, as a dog or other animal.
  • To call out or exclaim inarticulately; make an inarticulate outcry, as a person under excitement of any kind; especially, to utter a loud sound of lamentation or suffering, such as is usually accompanied by tears.
  • Hence To weep; shed tears, whether with or without sound.
  • To bid at an auction.
  • To revert to an ancestral type. See extract.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English crien, from Old French crier, from Vulgar Latin *critāre, from Latin quirītāre, to cry out, perhaps from Quirītēs, public officers to whom one would cry out in times of need.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English crien, from Old French crier, ("to announce publicly, proclaim, scream, shout"; > Medieval Latin crīdāre ("to cry out, shout, publish, proclaim")), from Frankish *krītan (“to cry, cry out, publish”), from Proto-Germanic *krītanan (“to cry out, shout”), from Proto-Indo-European *greyd- (“to shout”). Cognate with Dutch krijten ("to cry"), Middle Low German krīten ("to cry, call out, shriek"), German kreissen ("to cry loudly, wail, groan"), Gothic 𐌺𐍂𐌴𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (kreitan, "to cry, scream, call out"), Middle Irish grith ("a cry"), Welsh gryd ("a scream").


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  • He may only cry in the wilderness, but at all events he will _cry_, and he will cry of that highest thing his heart knows.

    Spiritual Reformers in the 16th & 17th Centuries Rufus Matthew Jones 1905

  • Often I wer so tired that Father'd hae to call me a dozen times afore I cude wake up, an 'then I'd cry, _cry_, if I wer ten minutes laate to work -- when I had summut to du on land, that was.

    A Poor Man's House Stephen Sydney Reynolds 1900

  • It isn't that these old arms ache for them, that this rather tired heart weakens when they cry for God knows what, and modern science says let them _cry_!

    The Danger Mark A. B. [Illustrator] Wenzell 1899

  • I didn't do anything but cry -- _cry_, Harold, just as if I didn't like things.

    The Sunbridge Girls at Six Star Ranch 1894

  • Just awesome. datz funny but poor smiley * cry cry* still funny and like so much better den anything ive ever done (mostly cuz i dont gotz talent like u im more ov a drawerer) anyhoo awsomeness and yeah ... * smiles*

    Popular in the last 8 hours 2009

  • OMFG my life i horrible i need therapy, * cry, cry, cry* ". .but it would be nice to have someone I can tell these things to. i'm done.

    Reasons why I think I need therapy... hpfreak7 2009

  • Whether it be that the air of Auchtertool suits me better than that of Aberdour, or that having my kind little cousins within cry is a wholesome diversion, or that it required a continuance of country air to act upon my feebleness, I am not competent to say, nor is it of the slightest earthly consequence what the cause is, so that the effect has been as I tell you.

    Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle 1883

  • Here arises what I call the cry of the "cap and ... business wolves."

    Bill Chameides: Cap and Trade Part 2: Walking the International Tightrope 2009

  • QUEST: That's what you call a cry of enthusiasm over that.

    CNN Transcript Jun 20, 2003 2003

  • "Ah, that's what I call cry-baby talk," said the old ruffian; "I always say that if a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing thoroughly."

    The Silent Isle Arthur Christopher Benson 1893


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  • This quotation's on the cry page because that's what reading it made me do.

    "In my small way, I preserved and catalogued, and dipped into the vast ocean of learning that awaited, knowing all the time that the life of one man was insufficient for even the smallest part of the wonders that lay within. It is cruel that we are granted the desire to know, but denied the time to do so properly. We all die frustrated; it is the greatest lesson we have to learn."

    —Iain Pears, An Instance of the Fingerpost (New York: Riverhead Books, 1998), 554

    October 16, 2008

  • Fingerpost?

    October 16, 2008

  • How else do fingerpuppets send greeting cards?

    October 16, 2008

  • Ha!

    October 16, 2008

  • *is humbled*

    October 16, 2008

  • I didn't get that either, for most of the book ("fingerpost"). Then I finally came across it--it was this same character speaking, actually--and didn't think to enter it here. I'll do so tonight.

    October 16, 2008

  • What a great quote. If only I'd remembered it myself from when I read the book!

    October 16, 2008

  • Sorry bearness, I kind of ruined the moment. Yes, a worthy citation. Thanks.

    October 16, 2008

  • Don't.

    October 17, 2008

  • Don't what?

    October 17, 2008

  • cry

    October 18, 2008

  • Why not? There's nothing intrinsically bad about crying. It's not my hobby or anything, but it's just an expression of emotion, like jumping for joy or punching something when angry. Emotion means you're alive, not numb. I don't think this quote that made me cry is something I should hate or avoid just because it's moving. If a book (or movie, or any piece of art or literature) can manage that, the author's done a helluva job; the purpose of such works is to elicit emotion from the viewer/reader.

    Besides, in my experience, telling someone not to cry is a sure recipe to make them do so—or else to make them fear crying as something more than what it is.

    October 18, 2008

  • I don't think crying is intrinsically bad. I just prefer not to.

    October 18, 2008

  • The way the front page is all messed up right now makes me cry.

    October 18, 2008

  • I hear ya, Lampbane. *sigh*

    October 18, 2008

  • there is a way to fix it, at least partially...

    insert a long word (about 60 characters) in a comment.

    October 18, 2008

  • Or use a wide screen.

    October 18, 2008

  • Yes, but howwidedoesithavetobetoletusenjoytheoldfashionedhomepage?

    October 18, 2008

  • Actually the homepage looks fine on my laptop, which has a small screen. Maybe it's a browser problem?

    October 18, 2008

  • I think crying is healthy. Depending on the reason behind it, I have been known to enjoy it. I pick movies purely because I know they'll make me cry.

    Besides, if I didn't let myself cry to release the stress occasionally (increasingly, as the end of highschool and my exams draw nearer, tbh), I'd be a wreck.

    Obviously if there's something unpleasant making you cry, that's not a good thing. But tears come hand-in-hand with so many emotions that I think the worst thing about crying is that it messes up your make-up.

    P.S. That quote is pretty depressing, c_b.

    October 18, 2008

  • I'll pass.

    October 19, 2008

  • It made me cry because it's true, not because it's depressing. I thought it was the loveliest bit of prose I'd read in a long, long time.

    October 19, 2008

  • c_b: It is beautiful. Thanks for posting it.

    October 19, 2008

  • C_b, same here. It's not the happiest sentiment, but I find it beautiful because it's true--a comment on the human condition. :-)

    October 20, 2008

  • prayer

    July 22, 2009

  • That is an amazing quote c_b. I wonder why I have never come across it before.

    August 4, 2009