Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈskrēn\

Definition of screen

  1. 1 :  a protective or ornamental device (as a movable partition) shielding an area from heat or drafts or from view

  2. 2 :  something that shelters, protects, or hides: asa :  a growth or stand of trees, shrubs, or plantsb :  a protective formation of troops, ships, or planesc :  something that covers or disguises the true nature (as of an activity or feeling) <his geniality is just a screen>d (1) :  a maneuver in various sports (as basketball or ice hockey) whereby an opponent is legally impeded or the opponent's view of the play is momentarily blocked (2) :  screen pass

  3. 3a :  a perforated plate or cylinder or a meshed wire or cloth fabric usually mounted and used to separate coarser from finer partsb :  a system for examining and separating into different groupsc :  a piece of apparatus designed to prevent agencies in one part from affecting other parts <an optical screen>d :  a frame holding a usually metallic netting used especially in a window or door to exclude pests (as insects)

  4. 4a :  a flat surface on which a picture or series of pictures is projected or reflectedb :  the surface on which the image appears in an electronic display (as in a television set, radar receiver, or computer terminal); also :  the information displayed on a computer screen at one time

  5. 5 :  a glass plate ruled with crossing opaque lines through which an image is photographed in making a halftone

  6. 6 :  the motion-picture medium or industry

Examples of screen in a sentence

  1. Don't sit too close to the screen or you'll get a headache.

  2. A pop-up ad appeared on the screen.

  3. When I go to the movies, I like to sit close to the screen.

Origin and Etymology of screen

Middle English screne, from Anglo-French escren, from Middle Dutch scherm; akin to Old High German skirm shield; probably akin to Sanskrit carman skin, kṛnāti he injures — more at shear

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Field and Goal Sports Terms




Simple Definition of screen

  • : to examine (people or things) in order to decide if they are suitable for a particular purpose

  • : to do a test on (someone) to find out if that person has or is likely to develop a disease

  • : to do a test on (a person's blood, urine, etc.) to find out if the person has been using an illegal substance

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of screen

  • transitive verb
    1. 1 :  to guard from injury or danger

    2. 2a :  to give shelter or protection to with or as if with a screenb :  to separate with or as if with a screen; also :  to shield (an opponent) from a play or from view of a play

    3. 3a :  to pass (as coal, gravel, or ashes) through a screen to separate the fine part from the coarse; also :  to remove by a screenb (1) :  to examine usually methodically in order to make a separation into different groups (2) :  to select or eliminate by a screening process (3) :  to test or examine for the presence of something (as a disease) <patients were screened for hepatitis>

    4. 4 :  to provide with a screen to keep out pests (as insects)

    5. 5a (1) :  to present (as a motion picture) for viewing on a screen (2) :  to view the presentation of (as a motion picture)b :  to present in a motion picture

    6. intransitive verb
    7. 1 :  to appear on a motion-picture screen

    8. 2 :  to provide a screen in a game or sport


    play \ˈskrē-nə-bəl\ adjective



    Examples of screen in a sentence

    1. A committee will screen candidates for the job, but the final hiring decision will be made by Ms. Brown.

    2. We screen the kids' music so that we can approve what they listen to.

    3. We'll be screening his latest film in two weeks.

    15th Century

    First Known Use of screen

    15th century

    Synonym Discussion of screen

    hide, conceal, screen, secrete, bury mean to withhold or withdraw from sight. hide may or may not suggest intent <hide in the closet> <a house hidden in the woods>. conceal usually does imply intent and often specifically implies a refusal to divulge <concealed the weapon>. screen implies an interposing of something that prevents discovery <a house screened by trees>. secrete suggests a depositing in a place unknown to others <secreted the amulet inside his shirt>. bury implies covering up so as to hide completely <buried the treasure>.

    SCREEN Defined for Kids



    noun \ˈskrēn\

    Definition of screen for Students

    1. 1 :  a frame that holds a usually wire netting and is used to let air in but keep pests (as insects) out <a window screen>

    2. 2 :  a curtain or wall used to hide or to protect

    3. 3 :  the flat surface on which movies are projected

    4. 4 :  the surface on which the image appears in an electronic display (as on a television set or computer terminal)

    5. 5 :  a network of wire set in a frame for separating finer parts from coarser parts (as of sand)




    Definition of screen for Students



    1. 1 :  to hide or protect with or as if with a curtain or wall <… the graveyard … was screened by a stand of evergreens. — Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder>

    2. 2 :  to separate or sift with a network of wire set in a frame

    3. 3 :  to look at carefully to select as suitable <The committee screened job candidates.>

    Medical Dictionary


    transitive verb \ˈskrēn\

    Medical Definition of screen

    1. :  to test or examine for the presence of something (as a disease) <screen patients for prostate cancer> <a test to screen donor blood for HIV and hepatitis C—Penni Crabtree>


    Medical Definition of screen

    Seen and Heard

    What made you want to look up screen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


    a great number

    Get Word of the Day daily email!


    Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

    • monster-werewolf-photo
    • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
    Name That Thing

    Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

    SCRABBLE® Sprint

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.