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From Middle English bewailen, equivalent to be- (over, about) +‎ wail.


  • IPA(key): /bɪˈweɪl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪl


bewail (third-person singular simple present bewails, present participle bewailing, simple past and past participle bewailed)

  1. To wail over; to feel or express deep sorrow for
    • c. 1608–1609 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene vi]:
      [] Though in this city he
      Hath widow’d and unchilded many a one,
      Which to this hour bewail the injury,
      Yet he shall have a noble memory.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Luke 8:52:
      And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
    • 1820, William Wordsworth, The Haunted Tree[1]:
      [] when the wind
      Blows keenly, it sends forth a creaking sound
      (Above the general roar of woods and crags)
      Distinctly heard from far--a doleful note!
      As if (so Grecian shepherds would have deemed)
      The Hamadryad, pent within, bewailed
      Some bitter wrong.
    • 1922 April, Paul Rosenfeld, “The Water-Colours of John Marin: A Note on the Work of the First American Painter of the Day”, in John Peale Bishop, editor, Vanity Fair, volume 18, number 2, New York, N.Y.: Vanity Fair Publishing Company, →OCLC, page 48, column 2:
      About John Marin, there move sad, disgruntled beings, full of talk and lamentations. [...] They bewail the fact that in America, soil is poor and unconducive to growth, and men remain unmoved by growing green. But Marin persists, and what ebullience and good humour, in the rocky ungentle loam?
    • 2016, Noam Chomsky, What Kind of Creatures Are We?, New York: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page 56:
      Far from bewailing the existence of mysteries-for-humans, we should be extremely grateful for it.


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