Senior Member
Belgium, Dutch
Dear friends,

I am just wondering if there is some implicit or explicit link between screaming and weeping. Our Flemish word, etymologically quite the same, means weeping but that is of course no proof. I know it normally (?) means 'shout'...

  • Physics Guy

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    No implied link. In fact, they're hardly ever happening at the same time.

    If you're screaming and weeping, you're "wailing."


    Senior Member
    British English
    Interesting about your etymological link. Yes, I think sometimes "screaming" can be used to mean "weeping", but I would say that usually, it's meaning is "angry or frightened shouting".

    Example of "screaming" to mean "weeping":

    Her grief was such that she screamed hot tears at the graveside.

    When they gave her the news she began screaming uncontrollably [double meaning?] and could not be comforted.

    Now that I have typed this, I'm not entirely sure that I'm right, but these were my first thoughts!

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    The etymological origin of scream is uncertain. Comparisons have been made to (for example) Frisian skrieme meaning to weep. Also, early forms of the word weep mean to shout out (Old Frisian) and a related word in Old Norse (which came into English as the obsolete word "epe") means scream.

    There does seem to be strong evidence for a link between the two words.

    Blue Butterflies

    Senior Member
    Romania | Romanian
    Interesting thread. :)

    Except when I have enough context, I always have trouble deciding if "she cried" means "she shouted" or "she wept."


    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Some attempt at a conclusion:
    - etymologically there is probably some kind of link
    - synchronically there is only 'non-accidental coincidence' (give me a better word: there is some link, apparently, but it is not intrinsic or something the like - the more I think about it, the less I believe this conclusion is correct...)


    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    she screamed hot tears at the graveside.

    That is not really a correct usage for "screamed". She may have "shed hot tears," or she may have "screamed" till she wept, but i have never heard or seen, let alone read about, anyone screaming tears. The nearest I can think of would be Violet Elizabeth Bott, of the "William" books, who was wont to declaim when upset, that she "would thcream and thrceam till she was sick, and she could!".


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    @Blue Butterflies:
    If the sentence is simply, "She cried," it probably means that she wept. If the person is calling out in a loud voice, I would expect to read, "She cried out" or to find a direct quotation as in "'Watch out for the falling piano,' she cried."

    Cathy Rose

    Senior Member
    United States English
    There are, of course, different degrees of what we think of as crying. To me, weeping is quiet, silent tears coursing down cheeks. It's the pretty cry. One can also sob, bawl, blubber, yowl, supperate, and howl. Scream is closer to some of these descriptions than others, so perhaps, at one time, it was used to describe a particular type of crying. That's pure conjecture with absolutely nothing to back it up!


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would not naturally connect screaming with weeping.
    Etymology Online gives THIS, which doesn't help a great deal.

    None of the OED definitions for scream suggest any connection either.
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