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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course, technical guitar work and a tight rhythm section don't alone outweigh Tim's caterwauling.’
    • ‘I walked away as the other people here began to caterwaul about her death.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He prides himself on ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine.’
    • ‘‘Love Hounds’ features rapid-fire, almost spoken verses over guitar caterwauling, and then slides into the disc's catchiest chorus.’
    • ‘Tielli is best known for his perfect vocal and guitar caterwauling, and for song-writing with the Toronto rock group the Rheostatics.’
    • ‘The roofers went up there yelling and screaming and caterwauling in an attempt to get them to go.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dumbfounded, all I could do was watch - wincing with pain as the caterwauling shook the fillings in my teeth - until the noise ceased.’
    • ‘For perspective, start with the fact that our officially acknowledged national debt, source of much caterwauling, currently totals $7.6 trillion.’
    • ‘It was caterwauling behind a stone bench, wrapped in a dirty piece of cloth.’
    • ‘A funny parody scene of the movie was shown, while Homer grimaced at his movie heroes cavorting and caterwauling.’
    • ‘‘As long as no one starts caterwauling again,’ he called back.’
    • ‘For several long seconds after he had finished, everyone was quiet, except for one caterwauling infant a few blocks away.’
    • ‘Crickets chirped, owls hooted, and cicadas caterwauled in screechy harmony.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Kennedy's caterwauling and the band's rather standard song structures easily wear thin, despite competent playing.’
    • ‘You'd think the two were real sisters the way they caterwaul at each other sometimes.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.

    • ‘The drinkers perform a comedic caterwaul while the folk singers create a dissonant background to the absurdity.’
    • ‘The song ended in a caterwaul of feedback as they stumbled off stage, leaving in their wake trashed guitars and a bemused Jonathan Ross.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘The words Britain's best young spellers found most difficult were rankle, caterwaul, pleasurable and totem.’
    • ‘There are songs here (particularly grating caterwaul Escape Song) that would never see daylight were it not for their celebrity provenance.’
    • ‘Can rock ever again generate the poorly-constructed yet subversive caterwaul for which I once fell in love with it?’
    • ‘What kind of media caterwaul do you suppose would ensue?’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Through all my whining, mewling, and caterwauls of privileged desperation, there has been only one constant - my desire to attend Yale University Law School.’
    • ‘That said, they are still out to pummel, and their singer's caterwaul has never sounded more throat-shredding.’
    • ‘Certainly, the former, part caterwaul and part coy coo, will be an acquired taste.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.