wail vs whale :

wail or whale

One informal meaning of “whale” is “to beat.” Huck Finn says of Pap that “He used to always whale me when he was sober.” Although the vocalist in a band may wail a song, the drummer whales on the drums; and lead guitarists when they thrash their instruments wildly whale on them.Although this usage dates back to the 18th century and used to be common in Britain and America, it is now confined mostly to the US, and even there people often mistakenly use “wail” for this meaning.

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  • n  a cry of sorrow and grief
  • v  emit long loud cries
    wail in self-pity
  • v  cry weakly or softly
    she wailed with pain

  • n  a very large person; impressive in size or qualities
  • n  any of the larger cetacean mammals having a streamlined body and breathing through a blowhole on the head
  • v  hunt for whales
News & Articles

  • Classic cars cruise Cd'A
    The blast of horns. The wail of sirens. The growl of the engines.
    June 15, 2013 - Coeur d'Alene Press
  • 'The Newsroom' Season 1 on home video
    Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" is a by-liberals-for-liberals shindig. But the left need not weep, wail or gnash its teeth in guilt.
    June 14, 2013 - The Star-Ledger
  • London rock: Trio brings neo-British invasion to Riverbend (June 14)
    Even if you couldn't tell from how easily his voice slips into an upper-register wail from a basement growl, you could see the musical DNA of Leogun frontman Tommy Smith in every curly blond lock falling oh-so-very-Robert Plant-like from his head.
    June 13, 2013 - Chattanooga Times Free Press

  • Whale found beached along Washington coast
    Warning: Some images of the dead whale in this story may be disturbing. A dead whale was found beached Wednesday night along the Washington Coast. A Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife employee said the possible fin, sei or blue whale, came in about three miles north of Ocean City. Cascadia Research said it wasn’t sure what species the whale was because it had lost a lot of skin.  
    June 13, 2013 - KING5 Seattle
  • Dead whale washes up on beach near Ocean Shores
    A deputy patrolling the beaches near Ocean Shores found the carcass of a dead whale Thursday morning. The 68-foot Fin whale was found about four miles north of Ocean Shores. Cascadia Research and Washington Fish and Wildlife officials are doing a necropsy to determine the cause of the whale’s death.
    June 13, 2013 - KIRO 7 Seattle-Tacoma
  • Whale-watchers report huge spike in local humpback sightings
    Whale-watchers have seen a dramatic increase in humpback whale sightings in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the past few weeks, the Pacific Whale Watch Association reports.
    June 11, 2013 - KOMO Seattle