Definition of cry in English:



  • 1Shed tears in distress, pain, or sorrow.

    ‘don't cry—it'll be all right’
    with object ‘you'll cry tears of joy’
    • ‘Throwing herself across her blue flower bedspread, she cried herself to sleep the first night of her period and many nights afterwards.’
    • ‘Homeless and friendless, I set out into the slums, and found a quiet alleyway near an open air market to cry myself to sleep in.’
    • ‘My mom cries a lot.’
    • ‘She cried all night and refused to speak to her father.’
    • ‘There was never anybody there to wipe away her tears and she just cried alone in the dark, begging for love which never came.’
    • ‘He started to cry; tears of bitterness and regret for a past he couldn't change; for the love he needed taken from him so many times.’
    • ‘He cried too, tears of shame for hurting her and his wife, tears of loss because just thinking about life without her made his internal organs cramp in distress.’
    • ‘Don't be afraid to cry, as tears can baptize the soul anew.’
    • ‘Woman were crying with tears of joy as men swung their children around before giving them a smothering bear hug.’
    • ‘In the end, he told me, he cried too many tears, and that was why his eye began to swell.’
    • ‘She continued to cry softly on his shoulder, but there was no sadness in her tears.’
    • ‘It was not supposed to end with her slumped on an Athens pavement, crying bitter tears of pain and frustration.’
    • ‘She was holding my hand and crying huge, wet tears that splashed onto my arm.’
    • ‘It was considered good to cry so tears were frequently shed in public by both men and women.’
    • ‘Darren and Cara understood why Mom cried that night, even if she didn't.’
    • ‘In February this year, social workers at the airport reported that she had cried hysterically for hours.’
    • ‘Out of frustration, exhaustion, and mounting stress, I cry in the street.’
    • ‘I cried softly into his shoulder and let him hold me and try to comfort me.’
    • ‘She had always seemed so strong and had never cried in front of him.’
    • ‘Now as he sat in his chair thinking about his oldest daughter, he remembered that not even in the hospital did she cry - not one tear was shed.’
    weep, shed tears, sob, wail, be in tears, cry one's eyes out, cry one's heart out, cry as if one's heart would break, bawl, howl, snivel, whimper, whine, squall, mewl, bleat
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  • 2Shout or scream in fear, pain, or grief.

    ‘the little girl fell down and cried for mummy’
    • ‘The children cried out for help as the ice crack more along the surface.’
    • ‘The activists could hear women moaning and crying out in pain.’
    • ‘Alexander cried out in anguish, but was unable to move away from a final blow.’
    • ‘She cringed as the light moved closer and bit her lip to keep from crying out in fear.’
    • ‘Then the last of my energy was gone and I collapsed across the desk, crying out at the pain in my broken arm.’
    • ‘In the confusion, a voice cried out through the tunnel.’
    • ‘She spent many an agonizing night biting her lip to keep from crying out in pain as he relentlessly beat her up in his drunkenness.’
    • ‘He said it was then he first heard a bang and saw one of the officers on the floor crying out in pain.’
    • ‘Their mouths were gagged to prevent them from screaming or crying out, and the girl had tears down her face.’
    • ‘He bit hard onto his tongue to keep from crying out from the pain to come.’
    • ‘I felt something hit me in my stomach, and landed flat on my back, crying out in pain.’
    • ‘She cried aloud in agony and clutched her jacket close.’
    • ‘She sat in her cell, trying to hold it in, but still crying out in pain.’
    • ‘And I continued to fall, crying out desperately for help, but knowing that none would ever come.’
    • ‘Kim's eyes filled with tears involuntarily and she cried out in pain.’
    • ‘One of them cried out, his voice echoing through the halls.’
    • ‘James was being frequently sick and crying out in pain.’
    • ‘Abby went sprawling a few feet away, landing hard and crying out in pain and fear.’
    • ‘Myra was crying out now with pain as the child was being born.’
    • ‘He tried to regain his footing, but his right leg gave out and he tumbled back into the dirt, crying out in pain.’
    call, shout, exclaim, sing out, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
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    1. 2.1with direct speech Say something loudly in an excited or anguished tone of voice.
      ‘‘Where will it end?’ he cried out’
      • ‘"What? " the children cried in unison.’
      • ‘‘I deserve every pain you may inflict on me,’ she cried, tears welling up in her eyes.’
      • ‘What luck, cried the student and plucked the great flower.’
      • ‘‘If someone sees you, they will execute the whole street,’ he cries, pushing him away.’
      • ‘Feet could be heard pounding down the steps to his quarters and a voice cried out, ‘Maurice!’’
      • ‘Suddenly a voice cried out to her in this manner: Get up quickly!’
      • ‘And saying this he cried out with a great voice: Lazarus, come out here.’
      • ‘"Let my right hand wither, " more than 300,000 voices cried out in unison.’
      • ‘Oh I am so, so sorry about the weather, cried the marketing manager of Lilianfels hotel wringing her hands, when the driver dropped me off.’
      utter suddenly, exclaim, ejaculate, tell, babble, jabber, call out, cry out, burst out with, come out with
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    2. 2.2with object (of a street trader) shout out the name of (goods for sale)
      ‘there was a bustle of activity as vendors cried their wares, offering shellfish to potential buyers’
      • ‘In the little trading towns, the traders sat in their shops, far too weary to cry their wares.’
      • ‘Merchants were crying out their wares in the morning air, each straining to make their voices heard over the music and laughter.’
      • ‘Store owners and merchants were crying out their wares or conducting business.’
      • ‘The name Sally Lunn (Lunn is more usual than Lun) is said to commemorate a woman baker of that name who had a pastry-cook's shop and cried her wares in the street.’
      • ‘He notes that Hamilton often caught his sellers in the act of selling rather than crying their goods.’
  • 3(of a bird or other animal) make a loud characteristic call.

    ‘the wild birds cried out over the water’
    • ‘The breeze drifting through my window is warm, and somewhere I hear a bird crying over the water.’
    • ‘When very young, the cubs cry when afraid and hum when contented.’
    • ‘An owl cried out.’
    • ‘The bird cried out, thrashing its wings.’
    • ‘Birds of various kinds cried out as they evacuated from their resting-places.’
    • ‘The eight birds cried wildly and fluttered over them in fright.’
    • ‘A bird cried in the distance, then was joined by another.’
    • ‘Overhead, a bird cried, and in the distance, another answered.’
    • ‘And far, far away to the north-east a wolf cried.’
    • ‘Again the dogs cried, this time closer, and caused the horse to spook.’
    • ‘The bird cried out and thunder echoed back from the sky.’
    • ‘One day, a resident chimp cried out, signaling that snakes were present.’
    • ‘Somewhere a bird cried, and up on the hill the tinkling sound of a cowbell rang.’


  • 1A loud inarticulate shout or scream expressing a powerful feeling or emotion.

    ‘a cry of despair’
    • ‘The shouting grew louder as multiple screams and cries rose from the end of the hall.’
    • ‘Instead of using music, the scenes are accompanied by real sound: incomprehensible murmuring, shouts and cries.’
    • ‘The prisoners were panicking, and there were loud shouts and cries of fear.’
    • ‘The village which had been peaceful for centuries was suddenly filled with cries and shouts.’
    • ‘His cries of despair brought tears to Jennifer's eyes.’
    • ‘I gave a strangled cry before bursting into tears on Adelle's shoulder.’
    • ‘The baby let out a lusty cry and we all shed tears of joy.’
    • ‘There was a scream, a shouted cry, from somewhere as the light was completely shut off.’
    • ‘A sharp cry tore itself from her lips as she threw herself onto the floor outside, her head bowed as tears fled from her eyes.’
    • ‘Back at the airport, there were screams and shrieks, cries and prayers as others witnessed the crash.’
    • ‘With an inarticulate cry of triumph, he tossed his cane away and stood effortlessly.’
    • ‘Shouts and cries and screams filled the room, creating a wave of noise that crashed down on James' ears, leaving him feeling numb and deaf.’
    • ‘Then without warning there were roars, cries, and shouts.’
    • ‘She went down with a cry of pain as tears sprang to her eyes.’
    • ‘His tendency to strut around the court, pump his fists and shout cries of celebration will drive women who love mischief into a frenzy.’
    • ‘He gave an inarticulate cry and attempted to wedge himself further into the corner he was occupying.’
    • ‘He slumped against the door and listened for a cry or a scream or anything at all, but when none came he realized how much shock she must be in.’
    • ‘Crouched over in agony, Ruth's terrible cry of betrayal seems torn from the depths of her soul.’
    • ‘When I finally got up all I could see was smoke, and I could hear the cries and screams of the survivors.’
    • ‘I let out a small cry and a few tears rolled down my cheeks.’
    call, shout, exclamation, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
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    1. 1.1 A loud excited utterance of a word or words.
      ‘there was a cry of ‘Silence!’’
      • ‘It was like you see in the films - you hear the whistle and the bang, there's a cry of ‘incoming’ and everybody gets down on the ground.’
      • ‘Local residents danced in the streets celebrating the decision with cries of ‘Execute the vile meditators!’’
      • ‘Impassioned cries of: ‘We will shed blood to save the Datta Peetha’ were raised.’
      • ‘It's the hub of village life and when you go there at night, expect some of the elderly worse-for-wear locals to greet you with cries of ‘Hello, my brother’ when they discover you're Irish.’
      call, shout, exclamation, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
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    2. 1.2 The call of a street trader selling goods.
      ‘the city comes to life after 10 p.m., with the din of car horns, and the cries of street hawkers’
      • ‘Despite the lights and the trains and the noise, it is quite easy to imagine the cries of the hawkers in a different age.’
      • ‘I have just been reading the Keith Waterhouse column, Echoes from the past, about the cries of street traders.’
      • ‘In the weavers' cottage, weavers would be hard at work, and the streets thronged with people, where visitors would hear the cries of street traders selling their wares.’
      • ‘The shrill cries of the vendors, pursuing passers-by to buy their wares rang through my ears.’
      • ‘Visitors are battered by a cacophony of cries by hawkers trying to flog a variety of the ubiquitous plastic trinkets and squeaking toys.’
      • ‘The cries of street vendors hawking their merchandise rose above the hubbub.’
    3. 1.3 An urgent appeal or entreaty.
      ‘fund-raisers have issued a cry for help’
      • ‘Thank you for your quick response to the cry for attention I issued upon my blog.’
      • ‘The man gave a faint cry for help but I covered his mouth before he could.’
      • ‘John Pews, 82, was buried under his collapsed shed for an hour before his cries for help were heard by a neighbour last month.’
      • ‘So too was his cry for reform silenced the medieval way.’
      • ‘A cry for help sounded through the house as Charlotte, described at Winchester Crown Court as an awkward feeder, stopped breathing.’
      • ‘The likely chairman of the proposed new York rugby league club, Roger Dixon, has issued a rallying cry for fans to keep doing their bit for the cause.’
      • ‘Newrbidge primary schools have issued an urgent cry for help as the schools crisis in the town deepens.’
      • ‘She began to scream, but her cries for help were muffled.’
      • ‘His urgent vocal-style demands your attention like a cry for help.’
      • ‘Football-supporting MPs have issued a rallying cry for ‘all associated’ with the game to pull together and save York City.’
      • ‘The club who has issued a cry for help says it will disband within the next three weeks, unless immediate support from parents and supporters comes forward.’
      • ‘Often the messages have been copied to a number of us to ensure his cry for help has been registered.’
      • ‘The woman's desperate cries for help to the emergency services had been recorded.’
      • ‘Then, the howling in the trees was their plaintive cries for help.’
      • ‘On the day she was killed, we heard a scream, a cry for help.’
      appeal, plea, entreaty, urgent request, cry from the heart
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    4. 1.4 A demand or opinion expressed by many people.
      ‘peace became the popular cry’
      • ‘One group has proposed that he can openly join the national cry for urgent action by the Government and its many arms which exist to deal specifically with the problem.’
      • ‘The most frequent cry is to demand the whereabouts of the powerful foreign reporting that they remember from the 1960s.’
      • ‘A rallying cry has gone out to save football pitches from the council's axe.’
      • ‘Soon, international opinion took up the cry and the authorities reacted quickly.’
      • ‘The match also almost certainly ended the cry from fans demanding a return to Sunday action.’
      maxim, saying, proverb, aphorism, adage, saw, axiom, formula, expression, phrase, rule, dictum, precept, epigram, gnome
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  • 2The loud characteristic call of a bird or other animal.

    ‘the harsh cries of magpies’
    • ‘Ranging from the chirp of crickets to the loud, booming cry of indigenous animals, the wilderness is truly alive with the sounds of fauna.’
    • ‘At his father's prompting, the little boy began to mimic the birds' cries.’
    • ‘Imagining their hoots to be the cry of some dangerous animal, she had spent nearly two terrified days on the run from her rescuers.’
    • ‘The air is full of bird cries and one may even spot a few deer.’
    • ‘Abby looked skyward and was greeted by the cry of an angry bird, warning her away from his meal.’
    • ‘Yet the only target they fired on was an unidentified animal, whose cries then kept the unit awake all night.’
    • ‘These noisy animals have several types of cries and bloodcurdling howls.’
    • ‘There was silence in the meadow for a few minutes, except for the cries of distant birds.’
    • ‘She was aware of every small noise around her, from the smallest twig snapping underfoot to the cries of foreign birds.’
    • ‘In the distance, one or two unnamed birds send out a cry from the distant dense forests.’
    • ‘It is in fact one of those animal cries that is both scary and scared in equal parts, a shriek that would make an intruder really think twice about going any further into a burrow.’
    • ‘The next thing I knew, a balmy breeze played across my face, and the soft cries of birds drifted to my ears.’
    • ‘The cries of topical birds and animals could be heard very clearly in the night air.’
    • ‘Whistles and cries came from the birds as they continued forward.’
    • ‘I could hear strange animal cries; some so deep and loud they sent chills up my spine.’
    • ‘Animal cries and howls wailed through the valley.’
    • ‘McBride recorded more than 100 hours of sounds and will listen to the audio tapes in the next month, in the hope of hearing the bird's cry.’
    • ‘Behind her she heard the cries of frightened animals.’
    • ‘A few cries came from nocturnal birds, hunting rodents.’
    • ‘Suddenly I heard a loud bird cry as a large bird of prey flew towards me.’
    trill, trilling, song, birdsong, warbling, chirp, chirping, chirrup, chirruping, chirr, chirring, cheep, cheeping, twitter, twittering, tweet, tweeting, whistle, whistling, chatter, chattering, squeak, squeaking, pipe, piping, peep, peeping, call, calling
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  • 3A spell of shedding tears.

    ‘I still have a cry, sometimes, when I realize that my mother is dead’
    • ‘She had a tight feeling in her chest that she felt could only be relieved by a good cry or a piercing scream.’
    • ‘I have a cry while I slice the onions.’
    • ‘If you are committed to removing all the tangles no matter how long it takes, then give yourself permission to get angry and have a good cry or scream.’
    • ‘He took an awful long time coming back, because he had to keep stopping to have a cry!’
    • ‘Sometimes there is nothing like a good cry.’
    • ‘I put my arms down on the computer desk, and leaned my head down on them to have a cry.’
    • ‘After my initial cry, I don't think I shed another tear for Steve.’
    sob, weep, crying fit, fit of crying
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  • 4rare A pack of hounds.

    ‘he kept a cry of hounds to hunt in the wilderness’
    • ‘Scent hounds are valued for their sense of smell and are generally used in a pack, known as a cry of hounds.’
    • ‘Sometimes I have known such a cry of hounds at uncoupling to take the game at counter.’
    • ‘It is the only county in which I have heard a pack of hounds called a cry of dogs.’
    • ‘With four packs of staghounds, sixteen of foxhounds ... besides not a few of those small cries of beagles, which afford such excellent sport in their way.’
    • ‘She was hindered by a full cry of hounds and horsemen pursuing a hare.’
    • ‘He had two hunting hounds that were to be part of the cry of hounds that the lord of the manor then kept.’


  • cry one's eyes (or heart) out

    • Weep bitterly and at length.

      ‘I cried my eyes out when he fired me’
      • ‘A man is walking along the canal bank when he sees a little boy crying his heart out, so he stops and asks him why.’
      • ‘It must have been a very sad sight to see four grown men standing on the docks crying their eyes out.’
      • ‘At this point i was crying my eyes out and couldn't say anything to prove him wrong because he was completely right.’
      • ‘I can remember sitting in the bathtub, crying my eyes out.’
      • ‘After the recording, I'd go home and cry my eyes out.’
      • ‘With this I stormed into my room and slammed the door, and proceeded to cry my heart out.’
      • ‘I thrown myself into Chloe's bed, hugging her doll tight, crying my heart out with bitterness.’
      • ‘The relatives of the victims were crying their eyes out too.’
      • ‘Her husband John came in to find her crying her eyes out.’
      • ‘You spend your days and nights crying your eyes out.’
      weep, shed tears, sob, wail, be in tears, cry one's eyes out, cry one's heart out, cry as if one's heart would break, bawl, howl, snivel, whimper, whine, squall, mewl, bleat
      View synonyms
  • cry for the moon

    • Ask for what is unattainable or impossible.

      ‘there must be no more self-pity, no more time wasted on crying for the moon’
      • ‘If she cried for the moon, he'd borrow every ladder in the parish and lash 'em together to get up.’
      • ‘I'm all in favour of ambition but I think when he says he'll be a millionaire by the time he's 25, he's simply crying for the moon.’
      • ‘When the baby cries for the moon, you do not give him what he wants.’
      • ‘He cried for the moon by complaining that the media failed to put this speech on their front pages.’
      • ‘His life is apt to appear to him a constant succession of small checks to his wishes, which he finds opposed either by the constitution of things, as when he cries for the moon, or the will of his elders, as when he is forbidden to sit up till midnight.’
      • ‘I haven't cried for the moon, and have been sensible in my demands; but there has nevertheless been this sense of boredom with everything, with my family and with my work.’
      • ‘When my brother was a baby, he cried for the moon and would not be comforted.’
  • cry foul

    • Protest strongly about a real or imagined wrong or injustice.

      ‘deprived of the crushing victory it was confidently expecting, the party cried foul’
      • ‘So there's no reason for these people to be crying foul.’
      • ‘This sounds eminently reassuring, but I cannot believe that we will get through the forthcoming election without somebody, somewhere crying foul.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly the opposition is crying foul and is calling for a national referendum on the matter given that the minority Labour government is reliant on a handful of Green votes to get the legislation up.’
      • ‘But the opposition cried foul, accusing the government of manipulating the votes.’
      • ‘The controversial cover of the University of Winnipeg's creative writing journal has some contributors, editors and students crying foul.’
      • ‘Political parties have cried foul at the king's move, calling it an unconstitutional and undemocratic step.’
      • ‘Protest and counter-protest occurred, with the Germans crying foul and furiously questioning the rules.’
      • ‘Italy fared no better, but they did not depart without a moan, crying foul after an honest 2-2 draw between Sweden and Denmark ended their hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages.’
      • ‘But those who support her opponent are crying foul.’
      • ‘A group of outdoors enthusiasts who built secret cabins on Mount Fromme and have been using them for the past 15 years are crying foul over a North Vancouver District plan to tear down their forest hideaways.’
  • cry from the heart

    • A passionate and honest appeal or protest.

      • ‘The film is a shattering cry from the heart but it is rendered all the more effective by its sense of calm, controlled restraint.’
      • ‘I read that statement as a kind of cry from the heart.’
      • ‘It will be a cry from the heart as much as a plea to open the wallet.’
      • ‘The letter from his mother, who knows Tom has died, is a cry from the heart for him not to go to the front.’
      • ‘It's an indelible moment - a cry from the heart of a woman who would never let anyone see her tears over her decision to remain ‘merely’ a maid so that her sometimes ungrateful children can get ahead.’
      • ‘There is no better evidence that both Tresy and Tim are right than the agonized cry from the heart this young woman shows us in her latest post, dated today.’
      • ‘It's actually a cry from the heart for the Labor Party as a whole to gather its resources, its intelligence, its energy and it's passion.’
      • ‘It's a cry from the heart for the West, united in righteous and understandable anger, to pause for thought before taking the next fateful step.’
      • ‘This is my cry from the heart on Australia Day, for right now, I am concerned that we are seeking to squash the hopes of people who need it most - desperate people heading for Australia, an island of hope.’
      • ‘They co-wrote this song, a plaintive cry from the heart, which helped Gaye to find some measure of redemption before his tragic death in 1984.’
      call, shout, exclamation, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
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  • cry it out

    • 1Weep until one is soothed or exhausted.

      ‘he broke your heart—cry it out, girl’
      ‘at 18–24 months, we did have to let our son cry it out a little’
      • ‘Back then women had easy access to a family member to cry it out with, babysit, share recipes, or borrow a cup of sugar.’
      • ‘There's nothing right about allowing a 5 month old to cry it out in order for him to sleep on his own.’
      • ‘Go and cry it out on your mama's lap.’
      • ‘I just said: "You're embarrassing yourself, lad," and let him cry it out.’
      • ‘Good thing his BFF was there to let his boy Jonathan cry it out on his sunburned shoulders.’
      • ‘Children have been crying it out for generations.’
      • ‘After I'd cried it out I thought just go in there and make videos.’
      • ‘She faced heartbreak head-on and couldn't help but cry it out.’
      • ‘My gut says she needs to cry it out and get over it.’
      • ‘Was it a mistake to let her eat all that sugary stuff, and should we give her what she wants now, or let her cry it out?’
      1. 1.1Denoting a method of sleep training in which a young child is left to fall asleep on their own and not immediately comforted when they cry.
        ‘she created developmentally appropriate strategies to help parents thrive without resorting to cry-it-out sleep training’
        • ‘Parents have been doing cry-it-out for generations, usually with no long-term damage.’
        • ‘I thought that I wouldn't be able to do it because "sleep training" in the cry-it-out sense sounded incredibly harsh to me.’
        • ‘Parents use cry-it-out techniques with infants, to train them to sleep in the "right" way (alone, at night).’
        • ‘All of you who are saying that cry-it-out is emotionally harmful, could you cite your peer-reviewed studies on the subject?’
        • ‘The problem with using this logic to support cry-it-out practices and advising other parents to follow suit is this describes the minority experience.’
        • ‘A world of experts and journalists tell parents about the safety of "controlled crying" or "cry-it-out" techniques to make babies sleep.’
        • ‘Many schools of thought for parents still stress scheduling sleep and forcing children to sleep by themselves (the cry-it out method).’
        • ‘Mainstream parenting media are asserting once again that the cry-it-out sleep paradigm is harmless to babies.’
  • cry stinking fish

    • Disparage one's own efforts or products.

      ‘those in racing should go forward together and stop crying stinking fish’
      • ‘Those contemporary English liberals and intellectuals who cry stinking fish in their own backyard, and celebrate every ethnic identity but their own, do so out of the same deep sense of superiority as their forebears, but it is today a superiority which they cannot bring themselves to acknowledge to themselves; that would be racism, and indeed it is.’
      • ‘This is not a question of Labor crying stinking fish or being worried about the result or whatever.’
      • ‘Optimists and apologists for Britain's troubles bravely insist: ‘I'm not going to cry stinking fish.’’
      • ‘The companies involved are not going to cry stinking fish for sell.’
      • ‘If the examples aren't forthcoming, then maybe his criticism is cheating, by crying stinking fish with nary a fishbone or cacase in sight.’
  • cry wolf

    • Call for help when it is not needed, with the effect that one is not believed when one really does need help.

      ‘he accused her of crying wolf’
      • ‘Habitual vilification of governments as being dishonest, lying, or determined to extend their powers improperly are more likely to blind us, on the principle of the boy crying wolf, to genuine abuses when and if they occur.’
      • ‘With these high-profile, periodic press conferences sort of calling every - all hands on deck, that you do run the risk of crying wolf, and I think that's a danger that the administration faces.’
      • ‘Environmental scientists must stop crying wolf: ‘There is a crisis emerging in the scientific community.’’
      • ‘And if anyone other than me cares about my car, the catalytic converter light gracing my dashboard was apparently crying wolf and has consequently been disconnected.’
      • ‘It's like the little boy that cried wolf, but you have to believe that sooner or later it will happen again.’
      • ‘Whether it is a genuine case of the Prime Minister being paranoid, or a case of his constantly crying wolf to gain cheap political advantage or sympathy, I leave for others to decide.’
      • ‘The saying ‘If you cry wolf too many times, eventually no-one will believe you’ springs to mind.’
      • ‘The difficulty is trying to spot something big before it becomes a problem but not crying wolf too often.’
      • ‘If our weather forecasters cry wolf again, we're just not going to believe them next time are we?’
      • ‘If they say something too early then they can be accused of crying wolf and if they wait too long then people ask if they have been asleep.’
  • for crying out loud

    • informal Used to express one's irritation or impatience.

      ‘why do you have to take everything so personally, for crying out loud?’
      • ‘I mean, for crying out loud, what kind of person could support such a policy?’
      • ‘Take the subsidies off trucking and get them back on rail, for crying out loud.’
      • ‘I would say If you're going to write stories about your teachers at least make them unrecognizable, for crying out loud!’
      • ‘Oh for crying out loud, guys, could you be any more deliberately ignorant?’
      • ‘It's raising money for charity, for crying out loud, what's the problem?’
      • ‘Oh for crying out loud, it's just gone 4am and I haven't slept a wink.’
      • ‘How hard is it to rinse the plate and place it in the dishwasher for crying out loud?’
      • ‘So for crying out loud, turn down the microphone level!’
      • ‘The man is a multi-billionaire with mansions all over the world, for crying out loud.’
      • ‘They act as though only religious conservatives have families, for crying out loud.’
  • in full cry

    • 1(of hounds) baying in keen pursuit.

      ‘the fox broke and the hounds followed in full cry’
      • ‘Yet as the mists rose over the Scottish Borders last week, the Buccleuch Hunt, as it has been for centuries, was in full cry.’
      • ‘A stream of hounds flow in full cry across the field, the huntsman, Richard Emmott, on foot behind.’
      • ‘She explained: ‘The pleasure I get from hunting is derived from seeing and hearing the pack in full cry, following the fox's scent.’’
      • ‘Later still, the hounds were taken to gorse a few hundred yards from the same road near Hatchet Pond from where they hunted the fox in full cry.’
      • ‘The women then set off like a pack of hounds in full cry after this cockerel.’
      1. 1.1Expressing an opinion loudly and forcefully.
        ‘the prime minister was in full cry with warnings against the plots of the Americans’
        • ‘So it is not surprising that she should be in full cry, trying to defend her position.’
        • ‘Paddy is a truly amusing caricature of the blustering paranoid right in full cry.’
        • ‘The British press has been in full cry on a marginal issue.’
        • ‘It is worth noting, however, that the cynics are already in full cry about the alleged quality of western fly-fishing.’
        • ‘As these young babes came squalling into the world, the suffragettes were in full cry, campaigning for a say in running the country.’
        • ‘Media commentators were in full cry against the UN.’
        • ‘The British media is in full cry of outrage and indignation - this time against the most unlikely target, the Home Secretary.’
        • ‘The mob will be in full cry for the early departure of the prime minister.’
        • ‘Before long he was in full cry, with a heart full of righteous indignation and a head full of steam, and he had help too.’
        • ‘Groups on the far Left, led by the radicals, were in full cry, demanding thorough investigation of the scandal and exposure of all the guilty men.’
  • it's no use crying over spilt milk

Phrasal Verbs

  • cry off

    • Go back on a promise or fail to keep to an arrangement.

      ‘we were going to Spain together and he cried off at the last moment’
      • ‘The 38-year-old from Philadelphia has been called up with a week's notice after Australian Justin Rowsell cried off with a calf problem.’
      • ‘Today I'm frantically trying to find a plasterer as the one we had booked has cried off.’
      • ‘That said, Wimbledon won't be the same without Anna Kournikova who has cried off through injury.’
      • ‘Ten days ago you were supposed to do a job, but you cried off.’
      • ‘Every time that I was selected, I came down with an injury and had to cry off.’
      • ‘However, it was a disappointment to find out that the visiting side had cried off at 11 am.’
      • ‘But history shows that he cried off at half-time having pulled a stomach muscle.’
      • ‘Wicklow also had their problems when David Moran failed a fitness test while Michael O'Brien also cried off through injury.’
      • ‘An officer from Wiltshire County Council's road safety department was due to come and show the crossing patrol officer how to use it, but he cried off at the last moment.’
      • ‘Under pressure from Narbonne, he cried off Scotland's 2000 tour to New Zealand in order to finish the French season.’
      • ‘A cause for concern for Town Celtic came when regular keeper Declan O'Loughlin had to cry off injured.’
      • ‘It was only going to be a flying visit, but Jon and Trevor (and Paul, too, in the end, who had been on the verge of crying off on account of illness, so it's a good job I bought extra cakes) stayed for a couple of hours.’
      • ‘For the second week in a row Trojans Reserves found themselves without a game as their opposition cried off.’
      • ‘It may have been because he'd cried off the previous Scotland fixture - the last of the trial matches - with an injury.’
      • ‘I was supposed to be going down the pub with my mate Alan, but he cried off, pleading exhaustion.’
      • ‘A good few who declared they would march in protest at the abomination cried off with a variety of weak excuses.’
      • ‘He suffered the injury at Halifax a fortnight ago, cried off ten minutes before kick-off last Saturday and isn't fit yet.’
      • ‘He and I went to Venice and Florence together too, and he was also supposed to be part of our house-share just outside Sienna one year but cried off due to pressures of work.’
      • ‘Mr Cannon had been due to open the event, but cried off at the last minute after being offered two gigs in Spain.’
      • ‘Casey was selected for last Sunday's game against Donegal which Westmeath lost by two points but was forced to cry off and was replaced by Declan Murphy.’
      back out, pull out, cancel, withdraw, beg off, excuse oneself
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  • cry out for

    • Demand as a self-evident requirement or solution.

      ‘the scheme cries out for reform’
      • ‘This country is still crying out for an effective political system that responds to them and listens to the people.’
      • ‘Infrastructure is something we are crying out for and is sadly lacking in many parts.’
      • ‘Stewart and his wife Linda now look certain to create the kind of global telecoms company that Scotland is crying out for.’
      • ‘The fact that these are precisely the issues that most cry out for free and open debate seems to matter not at all.’
      • ‘None of what has happened cries out for radical reform.’
      • ‘And we are crying out for more leisure and other amenities in what is still a very deprived area.’
      • ‘The initial response suggests it is the kind of thing that the game has been crying out for.’
      • ‘Yet, despite his awareness of the literature across regional and national boundaries, his essays cry out for further comparative scholarship.’
      • ‘But, while his play attacks residual imperialism and liberal naivete, it fictionalises a story that cries out for more direct factual treatment.’
      • ‘This is the sort of outdoor sports clothing that women have been crying out for - something feminine and well styled.’
      • ‘Much of the evidence presented cries out for reforms.’
      • ‘I wish he were with us now; our times cry out for someone with Orwell's gifts of clear-eyed observation and analysis.’
      • ‘After two fairly ghastly days at work, a dose of high culture was exactly what my frazzled out little brain was crying out for.’
      • ‘The problems are the shared responsibility of humankind and cry out for solutions that, like the problems themselves, also cross frontiers.’
      • ‘They cry out for solutions that, like the problems themselves, also cross frontiers.’
      • ‘It's a deeply unsatisfactory system, and one which cries out for reform - though not in the direction desired by the free marketeers.’
      • ‘Gale also comes into her own, her fleeting portrayal of woman-wronged a moving mix of innocence and patience that cries out for more stage time.’
      • ‘It is a facility the town is crying out for and one that will be warmly welcomed by virtually everyone.’
      • ‘We want to give Skipton girls a real chance to compete for every kind of job - especially skills the country is crying out for.’
      • ‘The game is crying out for one governing body that is both streamlined and fully accountable to the clubs.’
      require, demand, need, necessitate, call for
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  • cry someone/something up

    • Praise (or disparage) someone or something.

      ‘when one of them does something wrong, they cry down the lot’
      belittle, denigrate, deprecate, depreciate, downgrade, play down, deflate, trivialize, minimize, make light of, treat lightly, undervalue, underrate, underestimate
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Middle English (in the sense ‘ask for earnestly or loudly’): from Old French crier (verb), cri (noun), from Latin quiritare ‘raise a public outcry’, literally ‘call on the Quirites (Roman citizens) for help’.