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From Middle French exclamer, from Latin exclāmō, exclāmāre (call out), from ex- + clāmō (to call).



exclaim (third-person singular simple present exclaims, present participle exclaiming, simple past and past participle exclaimed)

  1. (intransitive) To cry out suddenly, from some strong emotion.
    • c. 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1, Act V, Scene 3,[1]
      I am a soldier, and unapt to weep,
      Or to exclaim on fortune’s fickleness.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Dublin: John Smith, Volume 1, Book 1, Chapter 9, p. 33,[2]
      Very grave and good Women exclaimed against Men who begot Children and then disowned them.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Chapter 12,[3]
      This wretched note was the finale of Emma’s breakfast. When once it had been read, there was no doing any thing, but lament and exclaim.
    • 1925, Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985, p. 114,[4]
      [] he could remember Sally tearing off a rose, stopping to exclaim at the beauty of the cabbage leaves in the moonlight []
    • 2011, Alan Hollinghurst, The Stranger’s Child, New York: Knopf, Part 4, Chapter 1, p. 285,[5]
      [] at the front door below a few guests were leaving, and the bright rectangle widened and narrowed as they slipped out into the night, laughing and exclaiming about the weather.
  2. (transitive) To say suddenly and with strong emotion.
    • 1603, Michael Drayton, The Barrons Wars in the Raigne of Edward the Second, London: N. Ling, “Alice Countesse of Salisburie, to the blacke Prince,” p. 31,[6]
      Must she be forc’d, t’exclaime th’iniurious wrong?
      Offred by him, whom she hath lou’d so long?
      Nay, I will tell, and I durst almost sweare,
      Edward will blush, when he his fault shall heare.
    • 1748, Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Roderick Random, London: J. Osborn, Volume 2, Chapter 40, p. 28,[7]
      [] her aunt, after having stared at me a good while with a look of amazement, exclaimed, “In the name of heaven! Who art thou?”—
    • 1839, Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, Chapter 12,[8]
      Without returning any direct reply, Miss Squeers, all at once, fell into a paroxysm of spiteful tears, and exclaimed that she was a wretched, neglected, miserable castaway.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      “Heavens!” exclaimed Nina, “the blue-stocking and the fogy!—and yours are pale blue, Eileen!—you’re about as self-conscious as Drina—slumping there with your hair tumbling à la Mérode! Oh, it's very picturesque, of course, but a straight spine and good grooming is better. []
    • 2017, André Aciman, Enigma Variations, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, “Manfred,” p. 135,[9]
      You never pump your arm when you score, you never exclaim anything, you don’t even smile when you fire a perfect backhand straight down the line.


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exclaim (plural exclaims)

  1. (obsolete) Exclamation; outcry, clamor.
    • c. 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard II, Act I, Scene 2,[10]
      Foul devil, for God’s sake, hence, and trouble us not;
      For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
      Fill’d it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
    • 1635, John Donne, “His parting form her”:
      Oh fortune, thou’rt not worth my least exclame [...].