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wail / wāl/ • n. a prolonged high-pitched cry of pain, grief, or anger: Christopher let out a wail. ∎  a sound resembling this: the wail of an air-raid siren.• v. [intr.] give such a cry of pain, grief, or anger: Tina ran off wailing | [with direct speech] “But why?” she wailed. ∎  make a sound resembling such a cry: the wind wailed and buffeted the timber structure. ∎  [tr.] poetic/lit. manifest or feel deep sorrow for; lament: she wailed her wretched life.DERIVATIVES: wail·er n.wail·ful / -fəl/ adj. ( poetic/lit. )wail·ing·ly adv.