When I slipped my arm round her waist, she dared not cry out.

But when you come to the door of the house of Vettius you will cry out with wonder.

Thou shouldst have heard her cry out when he said that to confess all would be a shame.

They must needs have each a by-path of their own, and cry out against all who will not follow it.'

He felt a foolish impulse to roll on the ground, to cry out and bite.

It was now my turn to cry out, for Charley's face was that of a corpse.

But I did not cry out—I know that, for I asked two of the fellows after.

What if one of them got Kirsty by the throat before she had time to cry out!

It seems he has some terrible complaint that makes him cry out that way.

The strain on their nerves threatened an attack, they might cry out, perhaps fight.


early 13c., "beg, implore," from Old French crier, from Vulgar Latin *critare, from Latin quiritare "to wail, shriek" (source of Italian gridare, Old Spanish cridar, Spanish and Portuguese gritar), of uncertain origin; perhaps a variant of quirritare "to squeal like a pig," from *quis, echoic of squealing, despite ancient folk etymology that traces it to "call for the help of the Quirites," the Roman constabulary. The meaning was extended 13c. to weep, which it largely replaced by 16c. Related: Cried; crying.

Most languages, in common with English, use the general word for "cry out, shout, wail" to also mean "weep, shed tears to express pain or grief." Romance and Slavic, however, use words for this whose ultimate meaning is "beat (the breast)," cf. French pleurer, Spanish llorar, both from Latin plorare "cry aloud," but probably originally plodere "beat, clap the hands." Also Italian piangere (cognate with French plaindre "lament, pity") from Latin plangere, originally "beat," but especially of the breast, as a sign of grief. U.S. colloquial for crying out loud is 1924, probably another euphemism for for Christ's sake.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.