Definition of catcall in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkatkɔːl/


1A shrill whistle or shout of disapproval made at a public meeting or performance: he walked out to jeers and catcalls
More example sentences
  • In one instance her inadequate performance provoked catcalls and derision.
  • The band members shouted catcalls at him and the audience boomed ominously in sudden frustration.
  • Enthusiastic youths in the audience kept the atmosphere alive with catcalls, wolf whistles, loud cheers and boisterous shouts, besides the occasional hoot and the intermittent scream.
whistle, boo, hiss, jeer, raspberry, hoot, brickbat, taunt, shout of derision;
wolf whistle;
(catcalls) scoffing, abuse, teasing, taunting, derision, ridiculing, mockery
British informal the bird
1.1A loud whistle or a comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman: women were the objects of catcalls when they walked by the men’s barracks
More example sentences
  • This is mostly a stereotype, but some men shout catcalls at women on the street, especially when the men are in groups.
  • City exchanges occasionally arranged journalist visits to trading floors, where the most conservatively-dressed female reporter would elicit jeers, catcalls, whistles and handclaps.
  • Hips swinging, she walked, amidst more catcalls, over to the computer.


[no object]
Make a catcall: they were fired for catcalling at women
More example sentences
  • Vendors hawked their wares while gesturing wildly, and groups of dirty street urchins played amidst the chaos, laughing and catcalling to one another.
  • For example, a man who may not engage in sexually harassing a woman when he is alone at a bar may begin catcalling to a woman at the same bar if he observes or is with friends engaging in this behavior.
  • She stopped at a stop light and realized someone was catcalling to her.


Mid 17th century: from cat1 + call, originally denoting a kind of whistle or squeaking instrument used to express disapproval at a theatre.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cat|call

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.