- enPR: wāl, IPA(key): /weɪl/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪl
- Homophone: wale
- Homophone: whale (in accents with the wine-whine merger)
wail (plural wails)
- A prolonged cry, usually high-pitched, especially as of grief or anguish.
- She let out a loud, doleful wail.
- Any similar sound as of lamentation; a howl.
- The wail of snow-dark winter winds.
- A bird's wail in the night.
- A sound made by emergency vehicle sirens, contrasted with "yelp" which is higher-pitched and faster.
- (intransitive) To cry out, as in sorrow or anguish.
- (intransitive) To weep, lament persistently or bitterly.
- (intransitive) To make a noise like mourning or crying.
- The wind wailed and the rain streamed down.
- (transitive) To lament; to bewail; to grieve over.
- to wail one's death
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
- (slang, music) To perform with great liveliness and force.
1999, Lewis A. Erenberg, Swingin' the Dream: Big Band Jazz and the Rebirth of American Culture, page 111:
- At Boston's Roseland, as "the Count's band was wailing," he grabbed Mamie, an avid dancer. The "band was screaming when she kicked off her shoes and got barefooted
2012, Robert Lewis Barrett, A Portrait of the First Born As a Child, page 377:
- The band was really wailing as we quickly made our dance moves in a most provocative manner.
- 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.
Compare Icelandic word for "choice".
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for wail in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)
- James T. Collins, The Historical Relationships of the Languages of Central Maluku, Indonesia (1983), page 70