[mee-ou, myou] /miˈaʊ, myaʊ/

noun, verb (used without object)
[mee-ou, myou] /miˈaʊ, myaʊ/
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.
/mɪˈaʊ; mjaʊ/
(intransitive) (of a cat) to make a characteristic crying sound
an imitation of this sound

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.

Related Terms

the cat’s meow


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