Definition of cry verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; kraɪ
cries, crying, cried, cried1 [intransitive, transitive] to produce tears from your eyes because you are unhappy or hurtIt's all right. Don't cry.I just couldn't stop crying.The little boy fell over and started to cry.cry for somebody/something The baby was crying for (= because it wanted) its mother.cry about/over something There's nothing to cry about.cry with something He felt like crying with rage.+ speech ‘Waaa!’ she cried.I found him crying his eyes out(= crying very much).That night she cried herself to sleep.2 [intransitive, transitive] to shout loudlycry for something She ran to the window and cried for help.+ speech ‘You're safe!’ Tom cried in delight.3 [intransitive] (of a bird or an animal) to make a loud unpleasant noiseSeagulls followed the boat, crying loudly.

cry foul

(informal) to complain that somebody else has done something wrong or unfair

cry over spilt milk

(British English) (US cry over spilled milk) to waste time worrying about something that has happened that you cannot do anything aboutAs the saying goes — it's no use crying over spilt milk.

cry wolf

to call for help when you do not need it, with the result that when you do need it people do not believe you

for crying out loud

(informal) used to show you are angry or surprisedFor crying out loud! Why did you have to do that?
more at laugh till/until you cry at laugh v., not know whether to laugh or cry at laugh v., a shoulder to cry on at shoulder n.
Phrasal verbs

cry off

(British English, informal) to say that you cannot do something that you promised to doShe said she was coming to the party, but cried off at the last moment.

cry out

to make a loud sound without words because you are hurt, afraid, surprised, etcShe tried to stop herself from crying cry out in fear/alarm/pain

cry out/cry out something

to shout something loudlyShe cried out for help.She cried out his name.+ speech ‘Help!’ he cried out.

cry out for something

(usually used in the progressive tenses) to need something very muchThe company is crying out for fresh new talent.
Usage noteUsage note: callcry out exclaim blurt burst outThese words all mean to shout or say something loudly or to shout or say something loudly to attract somebody's attention:I thought I heard someone calling.cry out (something) to shout something loudly, especially when you need help or are in trouble:She cried out for help. I cried out his name.exclaim to say something suddenly and loudly, especially because of a strong emotion:‘It isn't fair!’ he exclaimed angrily.blurt to say something suddenly and without thinking carefully enough:He blurted out the answer without thinking.burst out to say something suddenly and loudly, especially with a lot of emotion:‘He's a bully!’ the little boy burst call/cry out/exclaim/blurt out (something) to somebodyto call/cry out for somethingto cry out/exclaim/blurt out/burst out in/with somethingto call/cry out/exclaim/blurt out/burst out suddenlyto call/cry out/exclaim/burst out loudlyUsage noteUsage note: shoutyell cry scream cheer bellow raise your voiceThese words all mean to say something in a very loud voice.shout to say something in a loud voice; to speak loudly and often angrily to somebody:Stop shouting and listen! ‘Run!’ he shouted.yell to shout loudly, for example because you are angry, excited, frightened or in pain:She yelled at the boy to get down from the wall.cry (rather formal or literary) to shout loudly:She ran over to the window and cried for help.scream to shout something in a loud high voice because you are afraid, angry or excited:He screamed at me to stop.cheer (especially of a crowd of people) to shout loudly to show support or praise for somebody, or to give them encouragement:We all cheered as the team came onto the field.bellow to shout in a loud deep voice, especially because you are angry:‘Quiet!’ the teacher bellowed.raise your voice to speak loudly to somebody, especially because you are angry:She never once raised her voice to shout/yell/cry/raise your voice to somebodyto shout/yell/scream/bellow at somebodyto shout/yell/cry out/scream/bellow in pain/anguish/rage, shout/cry out/scream for joy/excitement/delight, shout/yell/cry out/scream with excitement/triumph, shout/yell/scream/bellow at somebody to do somethingto shout/yell/scream abuseto shout/yell/cry/scream for helpUsage noteUsage note: CryTo cry is the most general word for producing tears when you are unhappy or hurt, or when you are extremely happy.To sob means to cry noisily, taking sudden, sharp breaths.To wail means to cry in a loud high voice.To whimper means to cry making low, weak noises.To weep (literary or formal) means to cry quietly for a long time.All these verbs can be used like ‘say’:‘I don’t want you to go,’ she cried/wailed/sobbed.To be in tears means to be crying.To burst into tears means to suddenly begin to cry.To cry your eyes out means to cry a lot or for a long time, because you are very sad.