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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English wraulen, wrawlen (cry like a cat; roar). Compare Danish vræle, vråle, Swedish vråla (to bellow; roar; howl; yell).



waul (third-person singular simple present wauls, present participle wauling, simple past and past participle wauled)

  1. To wail, to cry plaintively.
    • 1605, William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act IV, Scene vi, Isaac Reed (editor), 1823, Isaac Reed (editor), The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, Volume 9, page 287,
      Thou know’st, the first time that we smell the air, / We waul, and cry.
    • 1850, Sylvester Judd, Richard Edney and the Governor's Family, page 298,
      The Catapult wauled, "What if some poor man's dog was saved, — it was his comfort and defence; — he shared with the faithful creature his bread and butter: and when he dies, who watches his grave, — who, if we may so say, sheds a tear for the departed? — who, who, but his dog? [] "
    • 2004, Michael Cisco, The San Veneficio Canon, page 75,
      A cattish ghost-familiar wauls from a monument's bronze shoulder, seeing him see it, and he shrieks back in its own language, pulling a face so horrible that pedestrians scatter out of his path, their white cottons flapping.

Related terms[edit]