Definition of cry in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Shed tears, typically as an expression of distress, pain, or sorrow.

    ‘don't cry—it'll be all right’
    with object ‘you'll cry tears of joy’
    • ‘In February this year, social workers at the airport reported that she had cried hysterically for hours.’
    • ‘She cried all night and refused to speak to her father.’
    • ‘It was not supposed to end with her slumped on an Athens pavement, crying bitter tears of pain and frustration.’
    • ‘Out of frustration, exhaustion, and mounting stress, I cry in the street.’
    • ‘It was considered good to cry so tears were frequently shed in public by both men and women.’
    • ‘She continued to cry softly on his shoulder, but there was no sadness in her tears.’
    • ‘Darren and Cara understood why Mom cried that night, even if she didn't.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Don't be afraid to cry, as tears can baptize the soul anew.’
    • ‘I cried softly into his shoulder and let him hold me and try to comfort me.’
    • ‘My mom cries a lot.’
    • ‘Throwing herself across her blue flower bedspread, she cried herself to sleep the first night of her period and many nights afterwards.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had always seemed so strong and had never cried in front of him.’
    • ‘Woman were crying with tears of joy as men swung their children around before giving them a smothering bear hug.’
    • ‘She was holding my hand and crying huge, wet tears that splashed onto my arm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was never anybody there to wipe away her tears and she just cried alone in the dark, begging for love which never came.’
    • ‘In the end, he told me, he cried too many tears, and that was why his eye began to swell.’
    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
  • 2Shout or scream, typically to express fear, pain, or grief.

    ‘the little girl fell down and cried for her mommy’
    • ‘Then the last of my energy was gone and I collapsed across the desk, crying out at the pain in my broken arm.’
    • ‘James was being frequently sick and crying out in pain.’
    • ‘Alexander cried out in anguish, but was unable to move away from a final blow.’
    • ‘She sat in her cell, trying to hold it in, but still crying out in pain.’
    • ‘In the confusion, a voice cried out through the tunnel.’
    • ‘Myra was crying out now with pain as the child was being born.’
    • ‘She cried aloud in agony and clutched her jacket close.’
    • ‘He tried to regain his footing, but his right leg gave out and he tumbled back into the dirt, crying out in pain.’
    • ‘She cringed as the light moved closer and bit her lip to keep from crying out in fear.’
    • ‘I felt something hit me in my stomach, and landed flat on my back, crying out in pain.’
    • ‘Their mouths were gagged to prevent them from screaming or crying out, and the girl had tears down her face.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The children cried out for help as the ice crack more along the surface.’
    • ‘Abby went sprawling a few feet away, landing hard and crying out in pain and fear.’
    • ‘And I continued to fall, crying out desperately for help, but knowing that none would ever come.’
    • ‘He bit hard onto his tongue to keep from crying out from the pain to come.’
    • ‘One of them cried out, his voice echoing through the halls.’
    • ‘He said it was then he first heard a bang and saw one of the officers on the floor crying out in pain.’
    • ‘The activists could hear women moaning and crying out in pain.’
    • ‘Kim's eyes filled with tears involuntarily and she cried out in pain.’
    call, shout, exclaim, sing out, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Say something loudly in an excited or anguished tone of voice.
      ‘“Where will it end?” he cried out’
      • ‘Feet could be heard pounding down the steps to his quarters and a voice cried out, ‘Maurice!’’
      • ‘"Let my right hand wither, " more than 300,000 voices cried out in unison.’
      • ‘‘I deserve every pain you may inflict on me,’ she cried, tears welling up in her eyes.’
      • ‘And saying this he cried out with a great voice: Lazarus, come out here.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘"What? " the children cried in unison.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Suddenly a voice cried out to her in this manner: Get up quickly!’
      utter suddenly, exclaim, ejaculate, tell, babble, jabber, call out, cry out, burst out with, come out with
      View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Merchants were crying out their wares in the morning air, each straining to make their voices heard over the music and laughter.’
      • ‘He notes that Hamilton often caught his sellers in the act of selling rather than crying their goods.’
      • ‘Store owners and merchants were crying out their wares or conducting business.’
      • ‘In the little trading towns, the traders sat in their shops, far too weary to cry their wares.’
  • 3(of a bird or other animal) make a loud characteristic call.

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


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

    ‘a cry of despair’
    • ‘He gave an inarticulate cry and attempted to wedge himself further into the corner he was occupying.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I gave a strangled cry before bursting into tears on Adelle's shoulder.’
    • ‘The shouting grew louder as multiple screams and cries rose from the end of the hall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I let out a small cry and a few tears rolled down my cheeks.’
    • ‘With an inarticulate cry of triumph, he tossed his cane away and stood effortlessly.’
    • ‘The baby let out a lusty cry and we all shed tears of joy.’
    • ‘Instead of using music, the scenes are accompanied by real sound: incomprehensible murmuring, shouts and cries.’
    • ‘When I finally got up all I could see was smoke, and I could hear the cries and screams of the survivors.’
    • ‘Back at the airport, there were screams and shrieks, cries and prayers as others witnessed the crash.’
    • ‘The village which had been peaceful for centuries was suddenly filled with cries and shouts.’
    • ‘The prisoners were panicking, and there were loud shouts and cries of fear.’
    • ‘Crouched over in agony, Ruth's terrible cry of betrayal seems torn from the depths of her soul.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She went down with a cry of pain as tears sprang to her eyes.’
    • ‘Then without warning there were roars, cries, and shouts.’
    • ‘His tendency to strut around the court, pump his fists and shout cries of celebration will drive women who love mischief into a frenzy.’
    • ‘There was a scream, a shouted cry, from somewhere as the light was completely shut off.’
    • ‘His cries of despair brought tears to Jennifer's eyes.’
    call, shout, exclamation, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A loud excited utterance of a word or words.
      ‘there was a cry of “Silence!”’
      • ‘Impassioned cries of: ‘We will shed blood to save the Datta Peetha’ were raised.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Local residents danced in the streets celebrating the decision with cries of ‘Execute the vile meditators!’’
      call, shout, exclamation, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
      View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 An urgent appeal or entreaty.
      ‘fund-raisers have issued a cry for help’
      • ‘Often the messages have been copied to a number of us to ensure his cry for help has been registered.’
      • ‘So too was his cry for reform silenced the medieval way.’
      • ‘The man gave a faint cry for help but I covered his mouth before he could.’
      • ‘Newrbidge primary schools have issued an urgent cry for help as the schools crisis in the town deepens.’
      • ‘Thank you for your quick response to the cry for attention I issued upon my blog.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the day she was killed, we heard a scream, a cry for help.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The woman's desperate cries for help to the emergency services had been recorded.’
      • ‘A cry for help sounded through the house as Charlotte, described at Winchester Crown Court as an awkward feeder, stopped breathing.’
      • ‘John Pews, 82, was buried under his collapsed shed for an hour before his cries for help were heard by a neighbour last month.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then, the howling in the trees was their plaintive cries for help.’
      appeal, plea, entreaty, urgent request, cry from the heart
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A demand or opinion expressed by many people.
      ‘peace became the popular cry’
      • ‘A rallying cry has gone out to save football pitches from the council's axe.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 2The loud characteristic call of a bird or other animal.

    • ‘There was silence in the meadow for a few minutes, except for the cries of distant birds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A few cries came from nocturnal birds, hunting rodents.’
    • ‘She was aware of every small noise around her, from the smallest twig snapping underfoot to the cries of foreign birds.’
    • ‘At his father's prompting, the little boy began to mimic the birds' cries.’
    • ‘Abby looked skyward and was greeted by the cry of an angry bird, warning her away from his meal.’
    • ‘Imagining their hoots to be the cry of some dangerous animal, she had spent nearly two terrified days on the run from her rescuers.’
    • ‘These noisy animals have several types of cries and bloodcurdling howls.’
    • ‘Whistles and cries came from the birds as they continued forward.’
    • ‘Behind her she heard the cries of frightened animals.’
    • ‘Suddenly I heard a loud bird cry as a large bird of prey flew towards me.’
    • ‘Ranging from the chirp of crickets to the loud, booming cry of indigenous animals, the wilderness is truly alive with the sounds of fauna.’
    • ‘In the distance, one or two unnamed birds send out a cry from the distant dense forests.’
    • ‘The air is full of bird cries and one may even spot a few deer.’
    • ‘Animal cries and howls wailed through the valley.’
    • ‘I could hear strange animal cries; some so deep and loud they sent chills up my spine.’
    • ‘Yet the only target they fired on was an unidentified animal, whose cries then kept the unit awake all night.’
    • ‘The cries of topical birds and animals could be heard very clearly in the night air.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
    View synonyms
  • 3A spell of weeping.

    ‘I still have a cry, sometimes, when I realize that my mother is dead’
    • ‘I put my arms down on the computer desk, and leaned my head down on them to have a cry.’
    • ‘She had a tight feeling in her chest that she felt could only be relieved by a good cry or a piercing scream.’
    • ‘He took an awful long time coming back, because he had to keep stopping to have a cry!’
    • ‘After my initial cry, I don't think I shed another tear for Steve.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sometimes there is nothing like a good cry.’
    sob, weep, crying fit, fit of crying
    View synonyms


  • cry one's eyes (or heart) out

    • Weep bitterly and at length.

      • ‘At this point i was crying my eyes out and couldn't say anything to prove him wrong because he was completely right.’
      • ‘With this I stormed into my room and slammed the door, and proceeded to cry my heart out.’
      • ‘You spend your days and nights crying your eyes out.’
      • ‘It must have been a very sad sight to see four grown men standing on the docks crying their eyes out.’
      • ‘The relatives of the victims were crying their eyes out too.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can remember sitting in the bathtub, crying my eyes out.’
      • ‘After the recording, I'd go home and cry my eyes out.’
      • ‘Her husband John came in to find her crying her eyes out.’
      • ‘I thrown myself into Chloe's bed, hugging her doll tight, crying my heart out with bitterness.’
      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.

      • ‘When the baby cries for the moon, you do not give him what he wants.’
      • ‘If she cried for the moon, he'd borrow every ladder in the parish and lash 'em together to get up.’
      • ‘When my brother was a baby, he cried for the moon and would not be comforted.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • cry foul

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

      • ‘Protest and counter-protest occurred, with the Germans crying foul and furiously questioning the rules.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The controversial cover of the University of Winnipeg's creative writing journal has some contributors, editors and students crying foul.’
      • ‘But the opposition cried foul, accusing the government of manipulating the votes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Political parties have cried foul at the king's move, calling it an unconstitutional and undemocratic step.’
      • ‘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.’
  • cry from the heart

    • A passionate and honest appeal or protest.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 will be a cry from the heart as much as a plea to open the wallet.’
      • ‘I read that statement as a kind of cry from the heart.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The film is a shattering cry from the heart but it is rendered all the more effective by its sense of calm, controlled restraint.’
      call, shout, exclamation, yell, shriek, scream, screech, bawl, bellow, roar, whoop
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘She faced heartbreak head-on and couldn't help but cry it out.’
      • ‘Back then women had easy access to a family member to cry it out with, babysit, share recipes, or borrow a cup of sugar.’
      • ‘Go and cry it out on your mama's lap.’
      • ‘There's nothing right about allowing a 5 month old to cry it out in order for him to sleep on his own.’
      • ‘I just said: "You're embarrassing yourself, lad," and let him cry it out.’
      • ‘My gut says she needs to cry it out and get over it.’
      • ‘Children have been crying it out for generations.’
      • ‘Good thing his BFF was there to let his boy Jonathan cry it out on his sunburned shoulders.’
      • ‘After I'd cried it out I thought just go in there and make videos.’
      1. 1.1A method of sleep training in which a young child is left to fall asleep on their own and is not immediately comforted when they cry.
        ‘parents have been doing cry-it-out for generations’
        as modifier ‘she created strategies to help parents thrive without resorting to cry-it-out sleep training’
        • ‘A world of experts and journalists tell parents about the safety of "controlled crying" or "cry-it-out" techniques to make babies sleep.’
        • ‘All of you who are saying that cry-it-out is emotionally harmful, could you cite your peer-reviewed studies on the subject?’
        • ‘Parents use cry-it-out techniques with infants, to train them to sleep in the "right" way (alone, at night).’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Mainstream parenting media are asserting once again that the cry-it-out sleep paradigm is harmless to babies.’
        • ‘Many schools of thought for parents still stress scheduling sleep and forcing children to sleep by themselves (the cry-it out method).’
        • ‘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 have been doing cry-it-out for generations, usually with no long-term damage.’
  • 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?’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Take the subsidies off trucking and get them back on rail, for crying out loud.’
      • ‘How hard is it to rinse the plate and place it in the dishwasher for crying out loud?’
      • ‘Oh for crying out loud, it's just gone 4am and I haven't slept a wink.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I mean, for crying out loud, what kind of person could support such a policy?’
      • ‘They act as though only religious conservatives have families, 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!’
  • in full cry

    • (of hounds) baying in keen pursuit.

      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘Yet as the mists rose over the Scottish Borders last week, the Buccleuch Hunt, as it has been for centuries, was in full cry.’
      • ‘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.’

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’
      • ‘Mr Cannon had been due to open the event, but cried off at the last minute after being offered two gigs in Spain.’
      • ‘It may have been because he'd cried off the previous Scotland fixture - the last of the trial matches - with an injury.’
      • ‘Ten days ago you were supposed to do a job, but you cried off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was supposed to be going down the pub with my mate Alan, but he cried off, pleading exhaustion.’
      • ‘He suffered the injury at Halifax a fortnight ago, cried off ten minutes before kick-off last Saturday and isn't fit yet.’
      • ‘Every time that I was selected, I came down with an injury and had to cry off.’
      • ‘That said, Wimbledon won't be the same without Anna Kournikova who has cried off through injury.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the second week in a row Trojans Reserves found themselves without a game as their opposition cried off.’
      • ‘Wicklow also had their problems when David Moran failed a fitness test while Michael O'Brien also cried off through injury.’
      • ‘A cause for concern for Town Celtic came when regular keeper Declan O'Loughlin had to cry off injured.’
      • ‘A good few who declared they would march in protest at the abomination cried off with a variety of weak excuses.’
      • ‘But history shows that he cried off at half-time having pulled a stomach muscle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Today I'm frantically trying to find a plasterer as the one we had booked has cried off.’
      • ‘However, it was a disappointment to find out that the visiting side had cried off at 11 am.’
      • ‘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.’
      back out, pull out, cancel, withdraw, beg off, excuse oneself
      View synonyms
  • cry out for

    • Demand as a self-evident requirement or solution.

      ‘the present system cries out for reform’
      • ‘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's a deeply unsatisfactory system, and one which cries out for reform - though not in the direction desired by the free marketeers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is the sort of outdoor sports clothing that women have been crying out for - something feminine and well styled.’
      • ‘Stewart and his wife Linda now look certain to create the kind of global telecoms company that Scotland is crying out for.’
      • ‘The game is crying out for one governing body that is both streamlined and fully accountable to the clubs.’
      • ‘We want to give Skipton girls a real chance to compete for every kind of job - especially skills the country is crying out for.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I wish he were with us now; our times cry out for someone with Orwell's gifts of clear-eyed observation and analysis.’
      • ‘They cry out for solutions that, like the problems themselves, also cross frontiers.’
      • ‘None of what has happened cries out for radical reform.’
      • ‘But, while his play attacks residual imperialism and liberal naivete, it fictionalises a story that cries out for more direct factual treatment.’
      • ‘It is a facility the town is crying out for and one that will be warmly welcomed by virtually everyone.’
      • ‘Much of the evidence presented cries out for reforms.’
      • ‘The fact that these are precisely the issues that most cry out for free and open debate seems to matter not at all.’
      • ‘The problems are the shared responsibility of humankind and cry out for solutions that, like the problems themselves, also cross frontiers.’
      • ‘After two fairly ghastly days at work, a dose of high culture was exactly what my frazzled out little brain was crying out for.’
      require, demand, need, necessitate, call for
      View synonyms
  • cry someone/something up

    • Praise or extol someone or something.

      belittle, denigrate, deprecate, depreciate, downgrade, play down, deflate, trivialize, minimize, make light of, treat lightly, undervalue, underrate, underestimate
      View synonyms
  • cry someone/something down

    • Disparage or belittle someone or something.

      • ‘Optimists and apologists for Britain's troubles bravely insist: ‘I'm not going to cry 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.’
      • ‘If the examples aren't forthcoming, then maybe his criticism is cheating, by crying stinking fish with nary a fishbone or cacase in sight.’
      • ‘The companies involved are not going to cry stinking fish for sell.’


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’.