Definition of caw in English:



  • The harsh cry of a rook, crow, or similar bird.

    • ‘Otherworldly caws, a sound they produce only when they are at sea, enable the sociable birds to maintain contact even in stormy conditions.’
    • ‘He could just make out tropical birds flitting from tree to tree their faint caws echoing up from the valley.’
    • ‘Similarly her voice possesses a strange avian quality somewhere between a dulcet caw, a folk drawl and that associated with young children.’
    • ‘The sound of caws resonated through the forest.’
    • ‘For example, in Disneyland there are fake birds worked by electric motors which emit caws and shrieks as you pass by them.’
    • ‘Young himself appears to favor not the lofty melodies of tradition's songbirds but the crows' familiar caw caw.’
    • ‘Instead I was met with the harsh caw of a crow, breaking the eerie silence.’
    • ‘Breeding adults may emit caws, sighs or hissing calls.’
    • ‘The ground was hard and brown and rocky, parched, but the caw of birds from a nearby grove of olive trees muted the sound of my footsteps.’
    • ‘The bird seemed to answer this time, with another caw.’
    • ‘A large raven sat perched upon the fence and gave a loud, obnoxious caw.’
    • ‘As I entered the park just beyond the lane, my thoughts were again interrupted, this time by a short series of caws coming from three crows flying overhead.’
    • ‘Not for her, of course, left swinging in a cave to the caw of crows, but so the rest of us can go on.’
    • ‘Crows crept over the shreds of flesh, silent but for the flapping out of black wings and a few angry caws.’
    • ‘She heard caws and shrieks, but she didn't have time to try to analyze all of them.’
    • ‘Closing her eyes and trying to sleep, she suddenly heard the familiar caw of a crow from above in the tree.’
    • ‘The crow's caw is much more harsh and resonant than that of the rook.’
    • ‘Didn't get much birding in this weekend as a result of the closet ordeal but I did notice that a blue jay in our neighborhood is mimicking the crows very well, only its caws are much softer and a bit rapid - impressive nonetheless.’
    • ‘A caw sounded and she looked up to see a large crow sitting on a bright streetlamp.’
    • ‘A raven cried from a tree top, its caw echoing over a beaver-meadow of scarlet pitcher plants.’


  • Utter a caw.

    ‘rooks cawed in the dark trees’
    • ‘It's like having a crow caw constantly in your ear at noon every weekday, and then suddenly being told that it's going to be replaced with something else.’
    • ‘Somewhere a crow caws, and in the far distance those black birds endlessly circle a spot on the western edge of the world.’
    • ‘The bell has tolled, the crow has cawed in ominous overtones, there's been a dark and stormy night, and now finally we know the results of the election.’
    • ‘Something in the tall trees by the pavilion was cawing raucously.’
    • ‘The crows are great as harbingers of spring but wear out their welcome quickly by shamelessly eating songbird eggs and cawing endlessly about absolutely nothing on the oaks surrounding my yard.’
    • ‘Branches against the window creak and caw in the wind like birds.’
    • ‘At dawn, just when one has forgotten about him for a minute and dozed off, a crow caws loudly.’
    • ‘She looked over to the window and saw a midnight crow sitting on the balcony, cawing arrogantly.’
    • ‘They took off, cawing as they flew towards the rising sun.’
    • ‘The crow landed on her shoulder and cawed again.’
    • ‘Outside, Lindsay thought he heard a crow cawing.’
    • ‘On one of the lightning rods, a crow sits and caws.’
    • ‘But it's also a rustic idyll - an extensively renovated old style estate cottage in the middle of a copse of tall tree where rooks caw incessantly in the Spring sunshine.’
    • ‘Sometimes when they fly over me they look me in the eye and caw.’
    • ‘In one funeral scene, not only does the coffin break open to reveal the corpse, but also a black crow begins ominously cawing.’
    • ‘A giant parrot flies up and lands on my shoulder and caws because he hasn't learned to talk yet.’
    • ‘A raven cawed as the light began to fade and the wind partially subsided.’
    • ‘Rooks caw in the trees, jackdaws nest in their new chimney, sparrows feed on neighbours' tables.’
    • ‘A great flock of multicoloured tropical birds burst forth from the depths of the jungle, cawing and squawking as they rose ever higher into the air.’
    • ‘Thrushes sing in the green shrubbery; rooks caw in the elms.’
    screech, squeal, shriek, scream, croak, crow, caw, cluck, clack, cackle, hoot, cry, call
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: imitative.