• WordNet 3.6
    • v wail cry weakly or softly "she wailed with pain"
    • v wail emit long loud cries "wail in self-pity","howl with sorrow"
    • n wail a cry of sorrow and grief "their pitiful laments could be heard throughout the ward"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Two Old Women Were Weeping and Wailing--4-19-446 Two Old Women Were Weeping and Wailing--4-19-446

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Wail Loud weeping; violent lamentation; wailing. "The wail of the forest."
    • v. t Wail To choose; to select. "Wailed wine and meats."
    • v. i Wail To express sorrow audibly; to make mournful outcry; to weep. "Therefore I will wail and howl."
    • v. t Wail To lament; to bewail; to grieve over; as, to wail one's death.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • wail To express sorrow by a mournful inarticulate vocal sound; lament; moan; cry plaintively.
    • wail To grieve over; lament; bemoan; bewail.
    • n wail The act of lamenting aloud; wailing; a moan; a plaintive cry or sound.
    • wail See wale.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.i Wail wāl to lament or sorrow audibly
    • v.t Wail to bemoan: to grieve over
    • n Wail a cry of woe: loud weeping
    • ***


  • Minna Antrim
    “The drama of life begins with a wail and ends with a sigh.”
  • William Shakespeare
    “Wise men never sit and wail their loss, but cheerily seek how to redress their harms.”
  • William C. Bryant
    William C. Bryant
    “The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods and meadows brown and sear.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. wailen, weilen, probably fr. Icel. væla,; cf. Icel. , vei, woe, and E. wayment, also OE. wai, wei, woe. Cf. Woe


In literature:

Again pitifully, distinctly, wailingly, came the cry of the child.
"The Way of the Wind" by Zoe Anderson Norris
If this concord be rejected and the lust of war prevail, Soon within these ancient chambers will resound the sound of wail!
"Maha-bharata" by Anonymous
The wind sweeps o'er the rooftree with the wailing voice of a woman.
"My Lady of the Chinese Courtyard" by Elizabeth Cooper
Old Hagar gave a shrill wail and set her candle down.
"Culm Rock" by Glance Gaylord
Another wail tearing at the nerves.
"Storm Over Warlock" by Andre Norton
Again came the wailing, though this time without words.
"The Grammar School Boys Snowbound" by H. Irving Hancock
Then the wail of a nation proclaimed that he had gone from among us.
"Our American Holidays: Lincoln's Birthday" by Various
A wailing, half-smothered cry came from it.
"A Little Norsk; Or, Ol' Pap's Flaxen" by Hamlin Garland
Meanwhile, one of the creatures over whom God had given them dominion, was wailing in vain appeal.
"The Daughters of Danaus" by Mona Caird
The older children were very brave; but there were babes, too, and these wailed and wailed.
"The Long Roll" by Mary Johnston

In poetry:

Then do I hear voice unforgot
Wailing across the distance dim,
``Think, dear! If God existeth not,
Why are you always seeking Him?''
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin
On willow-boughs that o’er us bent
Our once glad-sounding harps were hung,
That but the wild wind, as it went,
Might grieve their wailful chords among.
"The Babylonian Captivity" by Charles Harpur
The bard who woke with heart and song
High strains of wassail, love, and gladness,
And heard with awe the chords among,
A wail of more than mortal sadness.
"The Warning Wail" by Janet Hamilton
There were tears, that fell from manly eyes,
There was woman's gentle weeping,
And the wailing of age and infant cries,
O'er the grave, where he lies sleeping.
"The Soldier's Grave" by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
She hath drawn me from mine old ways,
Till men say that I am mad;
But I have seen the sorrow of men, and am glad,
For I know that the wailing and bitterness are a folly.
"La Fraisne" by Ezra Pound
She was a flower -- fresh, fair and pure, and frail;
A lily in life's morning. God is sweet;
He reached His hand, there rose a mother's wail;
Her lily drooped: 'tis blooming at His feet.
"Sorrow And The Flowers" by Abram Joseph Ryan

In news:

According to the Daily Mirror, when Prince Charles learned that the pope's funeral had been scheduled for the same day as his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles, he wailed, "Why me.".
That giant wail of despair you heard this morning wasn't cause for alarm.
The Squid and the Wail.
Whining Wailing Women Troy says war is very, very bad.
Tommy "Big Daddy Gumbo" Dardar and his band were wailing a zydeco tune while a bunch of little kids jumped around on the dance floor.
Jump, Jive & Wail : The Music of Louis Prima.
Quad Citians Wail Over DirecTV.
The Wailing Wailers , from left, Bunny Wailer , Bob Marley, Peter Tosh.
Tweenage wailing aside, there's an accidental genius to a concert like this.
Think newborns just eat, sleep and wail exactly the same way across the world.
TEL AVIV, Israel – Leehee Goldenberg was having lunch at an outdoor cafe in Tel Aviv, Israel's largest metropolis, when an air-raid siren wailed.
Bettie Wailes tutors college prep classes, but has turned writing into a source of fame.
New Morning, Dylan 's previous LP, had hit shelves nearly a year in the past, and pictures started circulating through the press of Dylan and his wife Sara in Israel at the Wailing Wall.
"I'm tired of seeing Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney," she wails.
Husband and wife duo Mr Gnome has figured out the delicate balance between whisper and wail.