Definition of catcall in English:



  • 1A shrill whistle or shout of disapproval, typically one made at a public meeting or performance.

    • ‘The band members shouted catcalls at him and the audience boomed ominously in sudden frustration.’
    • ‘Enthusiastic youths in the audience kept the atmosphere alive with catcalls, wolf whistles, loud cheers and boisterous shouts, besides the occasional hoot and the intermittent scream.’
    • ‘All the panto business that now gets a bad name at international matches - whistles, jeers, catcalls and other animal noises - can come out again, with impunity.’
    • ‘In fact, there were cheers and catcalls and laughs scattered throughout the performances - a welcome change from fancy dancy, high-class outings.’
    • ‘In one instance her inadequate performance provoked catcalls and derision.’
    • ‘The jokes, catcalls and rude comments kept coming.’
    • ‘There were a few catcalls and jeers but no takers.’
    • ‘[T] he tenacity with which he is standing his ground on this issue, in the teeth of widespread catcalls, ridicule and pressure from so much of the country and the media, is heroic.’
    • ‘Pleas for caution and restraint from the minority who still clung to dwindling hopes of agreement were drowned with jeers and catcalls.’
    • ‘She stood in front of the feral slam audience to read her love poems, and the resulting jeers and catcalls convinced her never to go near that scene again.’
    • ‘Once the song ended, the crowd erupted into a loud wave of cheers, whistles, and catcalls.’
    • ‘And did I notice some very loud catcalls at the end of the second night's set?’
    • ‘The catcalls and whistles were amazingly loud.’
    whistle, boo, hiss, jeer, raspberry, hoot, brickbat, taunt, shout of derision
    wolf whistle
    scoffing, abuse, teasing, taunting, derision, ridiculing, mockery
    the bird
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A loud whistle or a comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman.
      • ‘Another young women bounded on stage to remind the audience that catcalls are subtler but nevertheless real forms of sexual violence.’
      • ‘I ignored the catcalls from Mike as I walked down the hallway with Jason following me.’
      • ‘‘Brandon had better figure out a way to get me out of this,’ grumbled Kitty as she walked onstage to the whoops and catcalls of the male population.’
      • ‘A series of whistles and catcalls greeted me as I walked down the hallway towards my locker, and I suddenly regretted very much wearing a skirt.’
      • ‘City exchanges occasionally arranged journalist visits to trading floors, where the most conservatively-dressed female reporter would elicit jeers, catcalls, whistles and handclaps.’
      • ‘The women stare indifferently as catcalls and whistling burst loudly from the dark interior of a taxi.’
      • ‘This is mostly a stereotype, but some men shout catcalls at women on the street, especially when the men are in groups.’
      • ‘Hips swinging, she walked, amidst more catcalls, over to the computer.’
      • ‘Squeezing her eyes tight she tried to block out Reed's cold, insistent taunts and the jeering catcalls that seemed to get louder with each passing moment.’


  • Make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by.

    ‘they were fired for catcalling at women’
    • ‘Men catcalled me every other block, but even they couldn't kill my day.’
    • ‘She stopped at a stop light and realized someone was catcalling to her.’
    • ‘The audience went into ecstasies of cheering and catcalling.’
    • ‘When I got up to criticise her - which led to cheering and catcalling from there on - Cook simply sat back and kept his head down.’
    • ‘With the jeering and catcalling from the Government benches, I missed the answer.’
    • ‘There was open laughter and catcalling by the end.’
    • ‘That song also featured a needlessly long pause for dramatic effect that didn't escape the wrath of some audience members who catcalled the pretentious moment.’
    • ‘Initial reaction from the workforce was hostile; the trade union representatives vetoed them and the employees involved were subjected to boos and catcalling as they left the assembly line to attend circle meetings.’
    • ‘The young woman trying to maintain her dignity as she walks down a busy street, ogled and catcalled by a horde of males.’
    • ‘Vendors hawked their wares while gesturing wildly, and groups of dirty street urchins played amidst the chaos, laughing and catcalling to one another.’
    • ‘The poor creature took fright and ran with the mob catcalling after her and even throwing a rock or two.’
    • ‘It was embarrassing, what with a gathering crowd of sailors looking on, catcalling.’
    • ‘For example, a man who may not engage in sexually harassing a woman when he is alone at a bar may begin catcalling to a woman at the same bar if he observes or is with friends engaging in this behavior.’
    • ‘But she turned back after she encountered a crowd of locals who kept catcalling and making lewd comments.’
    • ‘The men whistled, catcalled and shouted their trades through the ornate metalwork gates in a bid to find jobs.’
    • ‘He elaborates this notion by pointing out how humorously out of place someone of ‘high culture’ and ‘refined’ taste would seem when placed amidst a group of spitting, catcalling men.’
    • ‘But by then the whole pantomime had collapsed under the weight of its own righteousness, and what little of interest they had to say was lost among the catcalling that carried on behind them.’
    • ‘The children laughed and catcalled and pushed and shoved as they hurried toward the exits.’
    • ‘Patricia is catcalled repeatedly by a group of construction workers outside the station.’
    • ‘An element of the crowd began to hoot and catcall during the speeches, setting a disorderly tone for the following proceedings.’
    taunt, mock, scoff at, ridicule, laugh at, sneer at, deride, tease, insult, abuse, scorn
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from cat + call, originally denoting a kind of whistle or squeaking instrument used to express disapproval at a theater.