verb (used without object)

  1. to utter the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf or a sound resembling such a cry.

verb (used with object)

  1. to give forth with or as if with a bleat: He bleated his objections in a helpless rage.
  2. to babble; prate.


  1. the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf.
  2. any similar sound: the bleat of distant horns.
  3. foolish, complaining talk; babble: I listened to their inane bleat all evening.


  1. (intr) (of a sheep, goat, or calf) to utter its characteristic plaintive cry
  2. (intr) to speak with any similar sound
  3. to whine; whimper


  1. the characteristic cry of sheep, goats, and young calves
  2. any sound similar to this
  3. a weak complaint or whine

Old English blætan, from West Germanic *bhle- (cf. Dutch blaten “to bleat”), of imitative origin (cf. Greek blekhe “a bleating; the wailing of children,” Old Church Slavonic blejat “to bleat,” Latin flere “to weep”). Related: Bleated; bleating.


c.1500, from bleat (v.).

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