- The definition of a wail is a long cry.
An example of a wail is a cry by a very upset baby.
- To wail is defined as to cry to express intense sadness.
An example of to wail is to sob loudly at a funeral.
- Wail is slang for to play very well on an instrument.
An example of to wail is to play an amazing piano solo in a jazz performance.
An upset baby wails.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to express grief or pain by long, loud cries
- to make a plaintive, sad, crying sound: the wind wailing in the trees
- Jazz, Slang to play in an intense or inspired manner
Origin: Middle English wailen from Old Norse væla, to lament from væ, woe
- to lament; mourn: to wail someone's death
- to cry out in mourning or lamentation
- a long, pitiful cry of grief and pain
- a sound like this
- the act of wailing
- wailer noun
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb wailed, wail·ing, wails verb, intransitive
- To grieve or protest loudly and bitterly; lament. See Synonyms at cry.
- To make a prolonged, high-pitched sound suggestive of a cry: The wind wailed through the trees.
- A long, loud, high-pitched cry, as of grief or pain.
- A long, loud, high-pitched sound: the wail of a siren.
- A loud, bitter protest: A wail of misery went up when new parking restrictions were announced.
Origin: Middle English wailen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse vāla, vǣla.
- wailˈer noun
- wailˈing·ly adverb