Catcall – Definition & Examples

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Catcall is a popular closed compound word that has been around since the 1600s. My article explores the definition and origin of the verb catcall with sentence examples.

What Does Catcalling Mean?

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Catcalling is, unfortunately, a popular word because of how rampant it is. The verb comes from the word catcall, which means a shrill whistle or shout of disapproval. We use this word when someone makes an unfavorable public performance or meeting.

But today, catcalling has evolved to be a term for mean whistles and lewd comments made by a man to women, and most of us women absolutely hate it.

Wolf-whistling is a common type of catcalling. It involves a two-note whistle which is supposedly done to compliment a woman. However, it makes victims more uncomfortable than thankful. Unsolicited comments on one’s body in the streets are also catcalling.

The present simple form of catcall is catcall or catcalls, while its future form is will catcall. As a regular verb, catcall follows the typical pattern for the simple past tense, catcalled.

Here are some examples of catcall in a sentence.

  • There should be a law that punishes people who catcall.
  • Gender experts consider catcalling as the men’s way of “putting women in place.”
  • The lady was catcalled in the alley.

Catcall Synonyms

Some synonyms and related words for catcall include:

  • Heckle
  • Holler
  • Hoot
  • Jeer
  • Raspberry
  • Boo
  • Derision
  • Hiss
  • Whistle
  • Gibe
  • Shout

Catcall Origin

Catcall Ngram
Catcall usage trend.

The word catcall originally meant to whistle or jeer at a public forum or a public performance. This word indicated disapproval or anger.

Catcall is a closed compound word for cat and call. Cat comes from the super Old English word, catt. Call originated in the 14th century, meaning a loud cry or an outcry.

Is Catcalling Harassment?

Catcalling can be considered sexual harassment in some states because it is a form of verbal conduct of a sexual nature or an offensive comment about someone’s sex, body, sexual orientation, or gender.

Examples of Catcall in a Sentence

Here is how to use catcall when writing a sentence.

  • I was catcalled on my way to work again today. It makes me really uncomfortable.
  • I wish the building manager would do something about the men outside who catcall women all day long.
  • A woman has sparked discussion on TikTok after posting a video showing her getting catcalled at a Wingate Park in Brooklyn. The catcalling is so intense that the woman decides to leave the park. (Daily Dot)
  • In China, you don’t get to tell the Beijing bosses where to get off with a cap slogan. Never have been able to, whether in the millennia of emperors — the “running dog” catcall toward Westerners began in the Qing Dynasty — or with the Chinese Communist Party. (Daily Bulletin)
  • Recent findings published in the journal Psychology & Sexuality suggest that men who catcall are unaware of how this type of harassment is perceived by women. (PsyPost)

Catcall Summary

Now you know the meaning of catcall and how to use it in a sentence. Remember that catcall is a verb that used to mean a shrill whistle or shout of disapproval. Now the term refers to making lewd comments or loud whistles at a person’s body or sexuality, usually of us women.

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