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Webster 1913 Edition


Wail

Wail

,
Verb.
T.
[Cf. Icel.
val
choice,
velja
to choose, akin to Goth.
waljan
, G.
wählen
.]
To choose; to select.
[Obs.]
Wailed wine and meats.”
Henryson.

Wail

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Wailed
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Wailing
.]
[OE.
wailen
,
weilen
, probably fr. Icel.
væla
; cf. Icel.
,
vei
, woe, and E.
wayment
, also OE.
wai
,
wei
, woe. Cf.
Woe
.]
To lament; to bewail; to grieve over;
as, to
wail
one’s death
.
Shak.

Wail

,
Verb.
I.
To express sorrow audibly; to make mournful outcry; to weep.
Therefore I will
wail
and howl.
Micah i. 8.

Wail

,
Noun.
Loud weeping; violent lamentation; wailing.
“The wail of the forest.”
Longfellow.

Webster 1828 Edition


Wail

WAIL

,
Verb.
T.
To lament; to moan; to bewail.
Or if no more her absent lord she wails--

WAIL

,
Verb.
I.
To weep; to express sorrow audibly.
Therefore I will wail and howl. Micah 1.

WAIL

,
Noun.
Loud weeping; violent lamentation.

Definition 2021


wail

wail

See also: Wäil

English

Noun

wail (plural wails)

  1. A prolonged cry, usually high-pitched, especially as of grief or anguish.
    She let out a loud, doleful wail.
  2. Any similar sound as of lamentation; a howl.
    The wail of snow-dark winter winds.
    A bird's wail in the night.
  3. A sound made by emergency vehicle sirens, contrasted with "yelp" which is higher-pitched and faster.
Translations

Verb

wail (third-person singular simple present wails, present participle wailing, simple past and past participle wailed)

  1. (intransitive) To cry out, as in sorrow or anguish.
  2. (intransitive) To weep, lament persistently or bitterly.
  3. (intransitive) To make a noise like mourning or crying.
    The wind wailed and the rain streamed down.
  4. (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?)
  5. (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.
    • 2013, Joan Silber, Fools, ISBN 9780393088700:
      We had a nondenominational wedding, with a bunch of great Sufi musicians really wailing, and my wildly enthusiastic mother in attendance.
Derived terms
Translations
References
  1. Etymology in Webster's Dictionary

Etymology 2

Compare Icelandic word for "choice".

Verb

wail (third-person singular simple present wails, present participle wailing, simple past and past participle wailed)

  1. (obsolete) To choose; to select.
    • Henryson
      Wailed wine and meats


Asilulu

Noun

wail

  1. water

References

  • James T. Collins, The Historical Relationships of the Languages of Central Maluku, Indonesia (1983), page 70

Cebuano

Pronunciation

  • (General Cebuano) IPA(key): /ˈwaˌil̪/
  • Rhymes: -il̪
  • Hyphenation: wa‧il

Etymology

Blend of wala (not) + ila (to recognize)

Noun

wail

  1. An insignificant person.
  2. An unknown person or thing.
  3. An unknown celebrity or politician.