American English

Definition of cry verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they cry
    he / she / it cries
    past simple cried
    -ing form crying
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to produce tears from your eyes because you are unhappy or hurt It'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. 2[intransitive, transitive] to shout loudly cry for something She ran to the window and cried for help. + speech “You're safe!” Tom cried in delight. Thesaurusshoutyell 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 someone:Stop shouting and listen! “Run!” he shouted.yell to shout loudly, for example because you are angry, excited, afraid, or in pain:She yelled at the boy to get down from the wall.cry (somewhat formal or literary) to shout loudly, especially because you are upset, afraid, excited, or very happy: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 someone, 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:My father bellowed at me from across the room.raise your voice to speak loudly to someone, especially because you are angry:She never once raised her voice to us.Patterns to shout/yell/cry/raise your voice to somebody to shout/yell/scream/bellow at somebody to shout/yell/cry out/scream/bellow in pain/anguish/rage, etc. to shout/cry out/scream for joy/excitement/delight, etc. to shout/yell/cry out/scream with excitement/triumph, etc. to shout/yell/scream/bellow at somebody to do something to shout/yell/scream insults to shout/yell/cry/scream for help
  3. 3[intransitive] (of a bird or an animal) to make a loud unpleasant noise Seagulls followed the boat, crying loudly.
  4. Vocabulary Buildingdifferent ways of crying To 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.Idioms
    cry foul (informal)
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    to complain that someone else has done something wrong or unfair
    cry over spilled milk
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    to waste time worrying about something that has happened that you cannot do anything about As the saying goes —it's no use crying over spilled milk.
    cry/say uncle (informal)
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    to admit that you have been defeated in a fight and want to give up The older boys made Jimmy cry uncle.
    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)
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    used to show you are angry or surprised For crying out loud! Why did you have to do that?
    laugh until you cry
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    to laugh so long and hard that there are tears in your eyes
    not know whether to laugh or cry (informal)
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    to be unable to decide how to react to a bad or unfortunate situation
    a shoulder to cry on
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    (used to describe a person who listens to your problems and gives you sympathy)
    Phrasal Verbscry outcry out for somethingcry out/cry out something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: cry