Definition of caterwaul in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkatəwɔːl/


[no object] (often as noun caterwauling)
(Of a cat) make a shrill howling or wailing noise: the caterwauling of a pair of bobcats (as adjective caterwauling) figurative a caterwauling guitar
More example sentences
  • The roofers went up there yelling and screaming and caterwauling in an attempt to get them to go.
  • Tielli is best known for his perfect vocal and guitar caterwauling, and for song-writing with the Toronto rock group the Rheostatics.
  • ‘Love Hounds’ features rapid-fire, almost spoken verses over guitar caterwauling, and then slides into the disc's catchiest chorus.


A shrill howling or wailing noise.
Example sentences
  • Drunk and angry, he berated the thicknecks while pouring his loudest, most annoying caterwauls over the din of his backing band.
  • The drinkers perform a comedic caterwaul while the folk singers create a dissonant background to the absurdity.
  • Armed with only an acoustic guitar, My Morning Jacket's frontman falls into the delicate opening strains of ‘Bermuda Highway, ‘his ghostly caterwaul creeping up my spine like a fever.’


Late Middle English: from cat1 + imitative waul.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cat¦er|waul

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