from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- adjective Resembling a wail; mournful.
- adjective Issuing a sound resembling a wail.
from The Century Dictionary.
- Sorrowful; mournful; making a plaintive souud.
- Lamentable; worthy of wailing.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- adjective Sorrowful; mournful.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adjective vocally expressing grief or sorrow or resembling such expression
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
I also thought of a line from Keats's "Ode to Autumn": "Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn."
My suggestion is born out by an intertextual reference in Miriam Allott's note to the "wailful choir" of "small gnats" mourning in "To Autumn."
Enter a manly protest against all forms of wrong and injustice, but do not pass your days in wailful lachrymations against the regulations of
From behind his wailful voice the gentle knocking was heard running on.
Jud could not see, being down on his knees in the little stream, washing his eyes, but he first heard demoniacal barks proceed from Bonaparte, ending in wailful snorts, howls and whines, beginning at the foot of the tree and echoing in a fast vanishing wail toward home.
There the witch fed her upon milk, and wine dark as a carbuncle, and pomegranates, and purple grapes, and birds that dwell in marshy places; and she played to her mournful tunes, and caused wailful violins to attend her, and told her sad tales, thus holding her ever in an atmosphere of sweet sorrow.
Only after creeping quite close to the performers could I discern certain wailful breathings; this brave instrument, all splotched with variegated colours, gave forth a succession of anguished and asthmatic whispers, the very phantom of a song, like the wind sighing through the branches of trees.
One explained to him: "It is a wailful woman seeking her lost child; she has become this forlorn bird".
At night, when he was asleep, his dark-brown friend would raise from some black corner a wild, wailful cry, a song of infinite lowliness and despair, that would go shuddering and sobbing among the buildings of the block and cause people to swear.
The men wavered in indecision for a moment, and then with a long, wailful cry the dilapidated regiment surged forward and began its new journey.