a. The characteristic cry of a goat or sheep.
b. A sound similar to this cry.
2. A whining, feeble complaint.
v. bleat·ed, bleat·ing, bleats
1. To utter the characteristic cry of a goat or sheep.
2. To utter a sound similar to this cry, especially a whine.
To utter in a whining way.
[Middle English blet, from bleten, to bleat, from Old English blǣtan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.