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From Middle English crien, from Old French crier (to announce publicly, proclaim, scream, shout) (whence Medieval Latin crīdō (to cry out, shout, publish, proclaim)), from Frankish *krītan (to cry, cry out, publish), from Proto-Germanic *krītaną (to cry out, shout), from Proto-Indo-European *greyd- (to shout). Cognate with Saterland Frisian kriete (to cry), Dutch krijten (to cry) and krijsen (to shriek), German Low German krieten (to cry, call out, shriek), German kreißen (to cry loudly, wail, groan), Gothic 𐌺𐍂𐌴𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (kreitan, to cry, scream, call out), Latin gingrītus (the cackling of geese), Middle Irish grith (a cry), Welsh gryd (a scream).


  • IPA(key): /kɹaɪ̯/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪ


cry (third-person singular simple present cries, present participle crying, simple past and past participle cried)

a woman crying (1)
  1. (intransitive) To shed tears; to weep.
    That sad movie always makes me cry.
  2. (transitive) To utter loudly; to call out; to declare publicly.
    • Shakespeare
      All, all, cry shame against ye, yet I'll speak.
    • Bunyan
      The man [] ran on, crying, Life! life! Eternal life!
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To shout, scream, yell.
    • Bible, Matthew xxvii. 46
      And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice.
  4. (intransitive) To utter inarticulate sounds, as animals do.
    • Bible, Psalms cxlvii. 9
      the young ravens which cry
    • Shakespeare
      In a cowslip's bell I lie / There I couch when owls do cry.
  5. (transitive) To cause to do something, or bring to some state, by crying or weeping.
    Tonight I'll cry myself to sleep.
  6. To make oral and public proclamation of; to notify or advertise by outcry, especially things lost or found, goods to be sold, etc.
    to cry goods
    • Crashaw
      Love is lost, and thus she cries him.
  7. Hence, to publish the banns of, as for marriage.
    • Judd
      I should not be surprised if they were cried in church next Sabbath.



Derived termsEdit

Terms derived from cry (verb)



cry (plural cries)

  1. A shedding of tears; the act of crying.
    After we broke up, I retreated to my room for a good cry.
  2. A shout or scream.
    I heard a cry from afar.
  3. Words shouted or screamed.
    a battle cry
  4. A clamour or outcry.
    • 1812, Alexander Chalmers, The General Biographical Dictionary
      His pupil, Maimonides, that he might not be under the necessity of violating the laws of friendship and gratitude, by joining the general cry against Averroes, left Corduba.
  5. (collectively) A group of hounds.
    • Shakespeare
      A cry more tunable / Was never hollaed to, nor cheered with horn.
    • 1667, Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II, in Edward Hawkins, The Poetical Works of John Milton: With Notes of Various Authors, Vol. I, W. Baxter, J. Parker, G. B. Whittaker (publs., 1824) pages 124 to 126, lines 648 to 659.
      [] Before the gates there sat / On either side a formidable shape; / The one seem’d woman to the waste, and fair, / But ended foul in many a scaly fold / Voluminous and vast, a serpent arm’d / With mortal sting: about her middle round / A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing bark’d / With wide Cerberean mouths full loud and rung / A hideous peal; yet, when they list,would creep, / If ought disturb'd their noise, into her womb, / and kennel there, yet there still bark’d and howl’d, / Within unseen. []
  6. (by extension, obsolete, derogatory) A pack or company of people.
    • Shakespeare
      Would not this [] get me a fellowship in a cry of players?
  7. (of an animal) A typical sound made by the species in question.
    "Woof" is the cry of a dog, while "neigh" is the cry of a horse.
  8. A desperate or urgent request.
  9. (obsolete) Common report; gossip.
    • Shakespeare
      The cry goes that you shall marry her.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit



Middle FrenchEdit


From Old French cri.


cry m (plural crys)

  1. cry; shout


  • French: cri



cry (third-person singular present cries, present participle cryin, past cried, past participle cried)

  1. to call, to give a name to
    • A body whit studies the history is cried a historian an aw.