For Crying Out Loud – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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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.

Ever felt so exasperated that you just needed to cry out loud? We’ve taken that feeling and turned it into an idiom “for crying out loud.” But what does it mean, and where did the switch happen? Let’s take a second to dissect the phrase for crying out loud and check out a buffet of synonyms. Plus, I’ll teach you how to use it in a sentence.

Is It Crying Out Loud or Aloud?

For Crying Out Loud vs For Crying Out Aloud Ngram
For crying out loud and for crying out aloud usage trend.

Both terms exist, but in the phrase we’re dissecting, it’s for crying out loud. The expression doesn’t literally mean that someone is crying loudly. It’s simply an exclamation of frustration, surprise or exasperation. So, no need to keep your volume in check!

Meaning of “For Crying Out Loud”

For Crying Out Loud – Idiom Meaning Origin

For crying out loud is a common phrase we use to express intense irritation, exasperation or disbelief of some kind. It’s the verbal equivalent of a facepalm, a hearty sigh or an eye roll that lets you vent your frustration without resorting to language that could raise some eyebrows.

For Crying Out Loud Origin and Etymology

For Crying Out Loud Ngram
For crying out loud usage trend.

This idiom dates back to the early 20th century and is seen as a more polite, less blasphemous alternative to other exclamations with the same vibe, like for Christ’s sake.

It’s a type of minced oath where potentially offensive phrases are substituted with more socially acceptable terms and euphemisms. It’s often attributed to cartoonist Thomas Aloysius Dorgan who was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

For Crying Out Loud Synonyms

Had enough of crying out loud? Give these alternatives a whirl! They’ll still get the same message across.

  • For Pete’s sake
  • For Heaven’s sake
  • For goodness’ sake
  • Good grief
  • Oh my gosh
  • Blimey
  • Crikey
  • Goodness me
  • Seriously?

Using For Crying Out Loud: Examples in a Sentence

For Crying Out Loud – Idiom Meaning Origin 1

Let’s make some noise with these full sentences that show exactly how you can use this expression.

  • For crying out loud, would you please turn down the music, Charlie?
  • You’re going to wear that outfit for the interview, for crying out loud?
  • For crying out loud, we’ve been waiting in this line for four hours. Disney sucks!
  • Did you forget to charge the phone again? For crying out loud!
  • I can’t get a word in. She keeps interrupting me, for crying out loud.
  • For crying out loud, how hard is it to put the toilet seat down, Jack?
  • Oh, please. He’s been playing video games all day, for crying out loud.
  • For crying out loud, I told you not to touch my tools!
  • “I lost my keys again,” she said and sighed. “For crying out loud.”
  • For crying out loud, this project feels like it’s taking forever.

Crying Out Loud and Clear!

And there’s the real scoop on for crying out loud. This quirky idiom is all about letting off steam without causing a scene. So the next time you’re feeling exasperated, know that it’s not about actual crying; it’s about expressing your feelings in a socially acceptable way.

Want to have more idioms in your arsenal? Check out some others we covered: