wail

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gnashing of teeth

A very vocal display of anger, irritation, contempt, or complaint. After the initial gnashing of teeth, most people just came to accept the new policy. There was much gnashing of teeth over the decision to replace the show's star with another actor.
See also: gnash, of, teeth

wail like a banshee

To scream, howl, or screech in a very loud, high-pitched, and unsettling manner. Some animal has been wailing like a banshee in the alleyway all night long. Kids, stop wailing like a banshees back there! I need to focus on driving and I can barely hear myself think!
See also: banshee, like, wail

whale on (someone or something)

1. To attack or thrash something in an brutal, forceful, or relentless manner. He stood there whaling on the wall with a sledgehammer, but he barely seemed to be making a dent in it. She began whaling on the poor child until a police officer finally intervened. The other team whaled on us for the entire game, leading to one of our most humiliating defeats of the season.
2. To criticize, rebuke, or verbally assault someone or something vehemently or relentlessly. The interviewer suddenly began whaling on the politician over his alleged ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The boss whaled on us for the entirety of the meeting because of our failure to meet our sales quota.
See also: on, whale

whale into (someone or something)

1. To attack or thrash something in an brutal, forceful, or relentless manner. He stood there whaling into the wall with a sledgehammer, but he barely seemed to be making a dent in it. She began whaling into the poor child until a police officer finally intervened. The other team whaled into us for the entire game, leading to one of our most humiliating defeats of the season.
2. To criticize, rebuke, or verbally assault someone or something vehemently or relentlessly. The interviewer suddenly began whaling into the politician over his alleged ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The boss whaled into us for the entirety of the meeting because of our failure to meet our sales quota.
See also: whale

whale away at (someone or something)

1. To attack or thrash something in an brutal, forceful, or relentless manner. He stood there whaling away at the wall with a sledgehammer, but he barely seemed to be making a dent in it. She began whaling away at the poor child until a police officer finally intervened. The other team whaled away at us for the entire game, leading to one of our most humiliating defeats of the season.
2. To criticize, rebuke, or verbally assault someone or something vehemently or relentlessly. The interviewer suddenly began whaling away at the politician over his alleged ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The boss whaled away at us for the entirety of the meeting because of our failure to meet our sales quota.
See also: away, whale

gnashing of teeth

Fig. a show of anger or dismay. (Biblical: "weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.") After a little gnashing of teeth and a few threats, the boss calmed down and became almost reasonable.
See also: gnash, of, teeth

wail like a banshee

Scream shrilly, as in Terrified, she wailed like a banshee. In Irish folklore, a banshee is a spirit in the form of a wailing woman whose appearance is an omen that one member of a family will die. The simile dates from the late 1800s.
See also: banshee, like, wail

gnashing of teeth

or

wailing and gnashing of teeth

People say that there is gnashing of teeth or wailing and gnashing of teeth when people become very worried or upset by something that has happened. In the City, the government's proposal is causing much gnashing of teeth. Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Social Democratic left-wingers, this does look like a first step in the right direction. Note: You can also say weeping and gnashing of teeth. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth when the Office for National Statistics counted a million fewer people than expected. Note: This expression is often used disapprovingly to show that you think people's reactions are too strong. Note: The phrases `weeping and gnashing of teeth' and `wailing and gnashing of teeth' both appear several times in the Bible in descriptions of the people who are sent to hell.
See also: gnash, of, teeth

wail

in. to be great. (see also wailing.) Things really started to wail about midnight when the band really got going.

wail on someone

in. to beat someone. (see also whale the tar out of someone.) Who are those two guys wailing on Sam?
See also: on, someone, wail

wailing

and whaling
mod. excellent. (Teens.) What a whaling guitar!
See also: wail

wail like a banshee, to

To scream shrilly. In Irish folklore, a “banshee” is a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears or is heard as a sign that one member of a family will soon die. The word appeared in English (from the Gaelic bean sidhe) in the second half of the eighteenth century. The simile dates from the late nineteenth century.
See also: like, wail
References in periodicals archive ?
Wail means a prolonged high-pitched cry of pain, grief, or anger.
Danielle Wails pretended mystery raiders had knocked her out, tied her up then started the fire which claimed four-month-old Alexander Gallon's life.
LOVE-40 ZSerena Williams' new heart tattoo HE'S J OUR ANDY MAN Girlfriend Kim and mum Judy cheer Murray on yesterday PRINCESS n OF WAILS Michelle Larcher de Brito in action yesterday GREAT ZGRUNT Maria in action on court
Wails, 21, who admitted killing her four-month-old son Alexander Gallon in a fire she started at their Cowgate home, and a 23-year-old, who cannot be named, convicted of poisoning her three-month-old son with soap, have both been bound over to keep the peace.
Wails, who had split from the baby's father, Robert Gallon, after a series of rows, was living in accommodation provided by a charity which helps single mothers.
Wails claimed intruders tied her up and set fire to her home in Newcastle.
Danielle Wails, 22, received three years probation, after admitting killing her son.
Police quickly unravelled her lies and Wails was charged with Alexander's murder.
And so we strip away our self-deceptions and the wails we build around ourselves.
In a regular stick-built house, inadequate insulation is common in many areas: at exterior corners, intersections of interior and exterior wails, the area where the roof meets the house, and around envelope penetrations and behind shower stalls, just to name a few.
The child's badly burned mother, Danielle Wails, screamed for help through her letterbox after she was tied up by her two attackers.
The mammal eaters' wails feature "long downward slides" that strike Deecke as "melancholy" and "very haunting" He says the fish eaters sound "more upbeat.
Particularly in Milwaukee, many Catholics have a vision and practice of the Eucharist that is more encompassing than the internal placement of altars and organs because of the impressive document Eucharist Without Wails the Milwaukee bishops wrote just a few years ago.
Both wails have fixed glazing with custom built mullions and transoms.