noun, verb (used without object)
- the characteristic sound a cat makes.
- a spiteful or catty remark.
verb (used without object)
- to make the sound of a cat.
- to make a spiteful or catty remark.
- (intr) (of a cat) to make a characteristic crying sound
- an imitation of this sound
n.representation of cat sound, 1842, earlier miaow, miau, meaw (1630s). Of imitative origin, cf. French miaou, German miauen, Persian maw, Japanese nya nya, Arabic nau-nau, and Joyce’s mrkgnao. In Chinese, miau means “cat.” As a verb by 1630s, meaw, also meawle. Cf. Old French miauer “to meow, caterwaul.” Related: Meowed; meowing.