Origin of caterwaulMiddle English caterwrawen, caterwawen ; from cater (prob. ; from Middle Dutch kater, tomcat) + verb wrawlen, wawlen; probably echoic
intransitive verbcat·er·wauled, cat·er·waul·ing, cat·er·wauls
- To cry or screech like a cat in heat.
- To make a shrill, discordant sound.
- To have a noisy argument.
Origin of caterwaulMiddle English *caterwawlen : *cater, tomcat; akin to Low German kater + wawlen, wrawlen, to yowl (ultimately of imitative origin).
(third-person singular simple present caterwauls, present participle caterwauling, simple past and past participle caterwauled)
- A yowling.
- A noisy quarrel.
From Middle English caterwrawe (one of numerous earlier variants); from cater (“cat”) + wrawen/wrawlen (“cry like a cat”).