Definitions

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

  • n. A public clamor, as of protest or demand: raised a great hue and cry about political corruption.
  • n. The pursuit of a felon announced with loud shouts to alert others who were then legally obliged to give chase.
  • n. The loud outcry formerly used in such a pursuit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The public pursuit of a felon; accompanied by shouts to warn others to give chase.
  • n. A loud and persistent public clamour; especially one of protest or making some demand.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a loud outcry with which felons were anciently pursued, and which all who heard it were obliged to take up, joining in the pursuit till the malefactor was taken; in later usage, a written proclamation issued on the escape of a felon from prison, requiring all persons to aid in retaking him.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. loud and persistent outcry from many people

Etymologies

Middle English hew and cri, partial translation of Anglo-Norman hu e cri : hu, outcry, clamor (from Old French huer, to shout, of imitative origin) + e, and + cri, cry (from Old French crier, to cry; see cry).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Anglo-Norman legal phrase hu e cri. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • At Lyons, we entered the Rhone, on our way to Arles le Blanc; and in the Rhone we came upon a castle called the Rock of Gluy, which the King had caused to be pulled down, because the hue and cry was out against Roger, the lord of the castle, for robbing pilgrims and merchants.

    The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville

  • In the midst of decrees and persecutions, the Genevese had distinguished themselves by setting up a hue and cry with all their might; and my friend Vernes amongst others, with an heroical generosity, chose that moment precisely to publish against me letters in which he pretended to prove I was not a Christian.

    The Confessions of J J Rousseau

  • A hue and cry went up, fueled by London and provincial news gazettes clear across the country.

    Morgan’s Run

  • It might just be possible, with help from Canaris 'Abwehr, to slip out of the country either to Sweden or Switzerland before the hue and cry went up.

    Barbarossa

  • For as soon as one of these creatures is forced to give up a position, he will try at once to wedge his way into the 'waiting-line' unless the hue and cry raised by the others prevents him.

    Mein Kampf

  • Milton, busy with these occupations in his room looking out upon Lincoln's-Inn Fields, could not shut out the continued hue and cry after him on account of his Divorce heresy.

    The Life of John Milton

  • So long as I was a 'plebe,' no one anticipated any such dire calamity as that I would attend the 'hops,' but as soon as I became a 'yearling,' and had a perfect right to go, if I wished, there was a great hue and cry raised that the sanctity of the 'hop' room was to be violated by the colored cadet.

    Henry Ossian Flipper The Colored Cadet at West Point

  • That in the hue and cry of nullification6 she sees pictured the great

    "Confederated Government," Speech of Thomas O. D. Walker, April 19, 1843

  • Unfortunately, however, before the repast of sausages could be prepared, a hue and cry reached the place, that this gracious Representant was an impostor!

    A Residence in France During the Years 1792 1793 1794 and 1795

Comments

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  • Recently it has featured in M-W's Word of the Day, see here

    May 16, 2009

  • Also the name of a Scottish duo who among other songs had the haunting love song with the chorus

    Violently
    You came to me
    Said I could be a different man, a different man
    Violently
    Your words hit me
    And I broke gently into your hands

    Wow!

    January 28, 2008

  • Merriam_Webster Dictionary:
    noun
    Etymology: hue outcry
    Date: 15th century
    1 a: a loud outcry formerly used in the pursuit of one who is suspected of a crime b: the pursuit of a suspect or a written proclamation for the capture of a suspect
    2: a clamor of alarm or protest

    See also hue

    January 28, 2008