Definition of caterwaul in English:



[no object]often as noun caterwauling
  • (of a cat) make a shrill howling or wailing noise.

    ‘the caterwauling of a pair of bobcats’
    figurative ‘a caterwauling guitar’
    • ‘For perspective, start with the fact that our officially acknowledged national debt, source of much caterwauling, currently totals $7.6 trillion.’
    • ‘‘As long as no one starts caterwauling again,’ he called back.’
    • ‘Dumbfounded, all I could do was watch - wincing with pain as the caterwauling shook the fillings in my teeth - until the noise ceased.’
    • ‘‘Love Hounds’ features rapid-fire, almost spoken verses over guitar caterwauling, and then slides into the disc's catchiest chorus.’
    • ‘It is a tribute to McLeish's side that they were not dragged down by caterwauling from the Ibrox stands - in which pockets of empty seats were evident - once Dundee had struck.’
    • ‘Free from the cynical imperatives and caterwauling of commercial stations, independents are, at their best, not dislocated from the communities they serve, but an honest reflection of them.’
    • ‘It was caterwauling behind a stone bench, wrapped in a dirty piece of cloth.’
    • ‘He prides himself on ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine.’
    • ‘For several long seconds after he had finished, everyone was quiet, except for one caterwauling infant a few blocks away.’
    • ‘By far one of the best bands of the so-called dance-punk explosion, the Fav combine angular art-rock and caterwauling dance-punk into something that's at times cerebral but always engaging, accessible, and damn fun.’
    • ‘Of course, technical guitar work and a tight rhythm section don't alone outweigh Tim's caterwauling.’
    • ‘Tielli is best known for his perfect vocal and guitar caterwauling, and for song-writing with the Toronto rock group the Rheostatics.’
    • ‘You'd think the two were real sisters the way they caterwaul at each other sometimes.’
    • ‘I walked away as the other people here began to caterwaul about her death.’
    • ‘It seemed that every time I was becoming immersed in events, Cho would begin caterwauling and I would be rudely jerked out of my reverie.’
    • ‘Crickets chirped, owls hooted, and cicadas caterwauled in screechy harmony.’
    • ‘The roofers went up there yelling and screaming and caterwauling in an attempt to get them to go.’
    • ‘A funny parody scene of the movie was shown, while Homer grimaced at his movie heroes cavorting and caterwauling.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Kennedy's caterwauling and the band's rather standard song structures easily wear thin, despite competent playing.’
    • ‘This is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether you enjoy watching five old has-beens caterwauling in unsuitable clothes or not.’
    howl, howling, wail, wailing, screech, screeching, shriek, shrieking, scream, screaming, bawl, bawling, cry, crying, yell, yelling, yelp, yelping, yowl, yowling, squall, squalling, whine, whining, ululating
    howl, wail, bawl, cry, yell, scream, screech, yelp, yowl, squall, whine
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  • A shrill howling or wailing noise.

    • ‘Can rock ever again generate the poorly-constructed yet subversive caterwaul for which I once fell in love with it?’
    • ‘That said, they are still out to pummel, and their singer's caterwaul has never sounded more throat-shredding.’
    • ‘Armed with only an acoustic guitar, My Morning Jacket's frontman falls into the delicate opening strains of ‘Bermuda Highway, ‘his ghostly caterwaul creeping up my spine like a fever.’’
    • ‘They raised such a caterwaul when Thompson entered a Burmese in a San Francisco show in 1938 that he withdrew from the proceedings.’
    • ‘Drunk and angry, he berated the thicknecks while pouring his loudest, most annoying caterwauls over the din of his backing band.’
    • ‘Certainly, the former, part caterwaul and part coy coo, will be an acquired taste.’
    • ‘And how can you not love the way ‘Melt’ starts with that laid-back, chiming intro and its backwards vocals, and then kicks into that massive caterwaul of guitars and drums?’
    • ‘Through all my whining, mewling, and caterwauls of privileged desperation, there has been only one constant - my desire to attend Yale University Law School.’
    • ‘We're trying to watch a serious art film in here, and all we can hear is that caterwaul you insist on playing at full volume!’
    • ‘There are songs here (particularly grating caterwaul Escape Song) that would never see daylight were it not for their celebrity provenance.’
    • ‘The words Britain's best young spellers found most difficult were rankle, caterwaul, pleasurable and totem.’
    • ‘What kind of media caterwaul do you suppose would ensue?’
    • ‘The song ended in a caterwaul of feedback as they stumbled off stage, leaving in their wake trashed guitars and a bemused Jonathan Ross.’
    • ‘Rather, they let their two drummers/two bassists/sax/guitar/vocals/etc. lineup speak for itself as one, which allows this guy and his extremely unpleasant, wavering caterwaul to hide behind relative anonymity.’
    • ‘The drinkers perform a comedic caterwaul while the folk singers create a dissonant background to the absurdity.’
    • ‘What they are good at is picking logic up by its tail and whirling it around in circles, ignoring its protesting screams and caterwauls.’
    • ‘There's always something happening; the yelping of dogs, the cat's caterwaul, the ‘jagte raho’ calls of the watchman.’
    yell, cry, call, roar, howl, bellow, bawl, clamour, bay, cheer, yawp, yelp, wail, squawk, shriek, scream, screech, squeal, squall, caterwaul, whoop
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Late Middle English: from cat + imitative waul.