Definition of bawl in US English:



  • 1reporting verb Shout or call out noisily and unrestrainedly.

    with direct speech ‘“Move!” bawled the drill sergeant’
    with object ‘lustily bawling out the hymns’
    no object ‘Joe bawled with laughter’
    • ‘You know when he's not happy, but he's not a manager who bawls and shouts.’
    • ‘He bawled at the reporters and obviously expected them to retreat.’
    • ‘She was screaming and bawling out uncontrollably.’
    • ‘True, Hoddle doesn't shout and bawl, but there is a coldness to him.’
    • ‘LA Reid's son saw her, told his dad, and his dad went down and bawled at her.’
    • ‘They're shouting and bawling all the time, or just sitting in their rooms drinking.’
    • ‘I used to train with the first team under him and if I lost the ball I'd get bawled at.’
    • ‘‘As a paid officer, a hired hand, he isn't there to shout and bawl at an elected member,’ Coun Jarvis added.’
    • ‘First a drunken tramp got on and started bawling and shouting and generally upsetting people.’
    • ‘He stepped up his voice each time until he was bawling out his message.’
    • ‘The common image of workplace bullying may be a manager shouting and bawling at a subordinate, but in reality the targeting is often much more subtle and insidious.’
    • ‘‘The fans pay their money, they're entitled to do what they like and they're entitled to shout and bawl,’ says Davies, sitting with lanky striker Derek Townsley and chief executive Pat Nevin.’
    • ‘Hopefully things will go well and I can stay quiet and not have to shout and bawl.’
    • ‘They were shouting and bawling at each other, more in a state of drunkenness than organised malice, and those words we caught were more to do with just how drunk they were and how annoyed they were that no pubs were open.’
    • ‘I'm sure he can shout and bawl like the best of them when he wants to but generally Colin is very supportive and confident.’
    • ‘Similarly, I don't believe tennis provides a profitable environment for light-hearted banter since you are so far away from your opponent and small talk loses something of its intimate charm when it has to be bawled out over a net.’
    • ‘He's shouting and bawling at everyone - hospital chiefs, the BMA, the nurses, everybody.’
    • ‘Matron had bawled at her for being out of bed when Kiv had woken, but she didn't care.’
    • ‘If anything, I should be bawling a manifesto, so that I might be better understood.’
    • ‘But when he went into school and took the letter I had written, he was bawled at by one teacher while trying to explain.’
    shout, call out, cry out, cry, yell, roar, bellow, screech, scream, shriek, howl, whoop, bark, growl, snarl, bluster, vociferate, trumpet, thunder
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  • 2no object Weep or cry noisily.

    ‘I began to bawl like a child’
    • ‘Some people weep and bawl, some just put on a brave face and try to go on instead of showing their emotions outwardly.’
    • ‘I touch her arm, and the next thing I know, she's bawling like a baby into my shoulder.’
    • ‘So, I cried on the way home for lunch, got Don on his cell phone, and bawled my little eyes out (not so hard as to cry my contacts out, which I have done, but that's a story for another day).’
    • ‘But my teacher would not ask the bus driver to stop… until I bawled like a baby.’
    • ‘Anyone else in your situation would be bawling like a baby.’
    • ‘I cannot sleep now because I've just spent the last 10 minutes bawling my eyes out.’
    • ‘He started bawling again, tears streaming down his cheeks.’
    • ‘At that point, even Tommy got frightened by the noise and began to bawl, but in order to find out who was the intruder I tried to keep the baby quiet.’
    • ‘It was a little disconcerting because he was just bawling his eyes out.’
    • ‘So I started to talk about it… hesitating and faltering all the way… and I bawled like a baby the entire time.’
    • ‘When no answer was forthcoming, the plump girl began to bawl noisily.’
    • ‘But right now, Dan was bawling like a baby, as the news reporter announced that the family-less old lady died, having no one to mourn over her.’
    • ‘Scarlet wasn't bawling like a baby this time, but the tears were still on her face as she rested her head on Major's shoulder.’
    • ‘She threw herself into his protective embrace and began bawling.’
    • ‘I raced back to my room, threw myself on my bed, and bawled like a baby!’
    • ‘Lana rolled her eyes; she couldn't believe that her mother still bawled like a baby every time her brother had to go to school.’
    • ‘Animated figures of women washed clothes, babies bawled, roosters crowed, blacksmiths worked at their forges.’
    • ‘She began to bawl unbearably and leaned into Malachi's chest, clutching his sweatshirt tightly.’
    • ‘I'm sure when the time comes I will be bawling my eyes out as I am going to miss our friends so much.’
    • ‘I bawled at the end, and Rach laughed at me, but I don't care because she cries at that pathetic Huggies ad!’
    cry, sob, weep, shed tears, wail, blubber, snivel, whimper, whine, howl, squall
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  • A loud, unrestrained shout.

    • ‘He went still, the old urge taking over, homing in on the sound like a cow hearing the bawl of her calf.’
    • ‘Her words were buried under assorted bawls, bellows, and roars; now it sounded like ten minutes past feeding time at the zoo.’
    • ‘Have a bawl on the karaoke, or test your powers of creative writing in the fun quiz, because the emphasis is definitely on fun.’
    • ‘'I then hear cuffing sounds and screams and bawls for help,' the teary-eyed relative said.’
    • ‘In all, 7,629 came along, not only to bear witness but to provide a Greek chorus, with bawls and murmurs accompanying every touch of the ball in the early minutes.’
    • ‘They became a bit less violent over time, the extension stifling and his body slowly stopping its movement, each bawl dying down to a cough, dying down to hard breathing, then back down to normal.’
    • ‘The tradition of having a new year's ball in Kerry was upstaged this year by the new year's bawls that filled the corridors of Tralee General Hospital's maternity unit on the first day of January.’
    shout, yell, cry, roar, bellow, screech, scream, howl, whoop
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Phrasal Verbs

  • bawl someone out

    • Reprimand someone angrily.

      ‘tales of how she bawled out employees’
      • ‘There are moments when you really want to bawl them out.’
      • ‘Anyway, but Anne Marie contacted Olivia and John, and your bullheaded sister bawled her out!’
      • ‘But you know what impressed me most was the calm, serene way you kept looking back at him while he was bawling you out.’
      • ‘The next day my next-door neighbor, who is a bit of a tough guy, bawled me out for not calling the cops.’
      • ‘But the drill sergeant bawls them out and makes them perform this curious action.’
      • ‘All I know is, I never again bawled Sean out when he made a mistake on the field.’
      • ‘If your boss bawls you out for a mistake, you can take it if he or she also congratulates you for a job well done.’
      • ‘An embarrassed Donovan later told a reporter, ‘I thought I was going to get traded after he bawled me out.’’
      • ‘In college, a professor bawled me out for taking money [for reading palms] on false pretenses.’
      • ‘‘Hank was known for calling up his lieutenants on weekends and holidays and bawling them out,’ says a former executive.’
      reprimand, rebuke, scold, admonish, reprove, upbraid, chastise, chide, censure, castigate, lambaste, berate, lecture, criticize, take to task, read the riot act to, give a piece of one's mind to, haul over the coals
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘(of an animal) howl, bark’): imitative; possibly related to medieval Latin baulare ‘to bark’ or Icelandic baula ‘to low’.