a cry for help


Also found in: Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.

a cry for help

A conspicuous action, often characterized by aberrant behavior, that masks a conscious or subconscious need for help or attention. This young man's crime was not malevolently motivated; it was a cry for help that he did not know how to communicate.
See also: cry, help
References in classic literature ?
I had only to induce her to follow me when I stepped on the deck, to seize her in my arms, and to jump overboard with her before she could utter a cry for help.
Instead a lusty cry for greater speed ahead urged the sinuous muscles gliding beneath the sleek brown hides; and when Muda Saffir rose to the surface with a cry for help upon his lips Ninaka shouted back to him in derision, consigning his carcass to the belly of the nearest crocodile.
For one brief moment, Oliver cast a hurried glance along the empty street, and a cry for help hung upon his lips.
As he lay in the Massachusetts General Hospital, he wrote a cry for help to the embattled little company that was making its desperate fight to protect his patents.
Between nine and ten last night Police-Constable Cook, of the H Division, on duty near Waterloo Bridge, heard a cry for help and a splash in the water.
A splintered boat and a number of crates and fragments of spars rising and falling on the waves showed us where the vessel had foundered; but there was no sign of life, and we had turned away in despair when we heard a cry for help, and saw at some distance a piece of wreckage with a man lying stretched across it.