\ ˈskrēm How to pronounce scream (audio) \
screamed; screaming; screams

Definition of scream

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a(1) : to voice a sudden sharp loud cry
(2) : to produce harsh high tones
b : to make a noise resembling a scream the siren screamed
c : to move with great rapidity
2a : to speak or write with intense or hysterical emotion
b : to protest, demand, or complain vehemently
c : to laugh hysterically
3 : to produce a vivid startling effect

transitive verb

1 : to utter with or as if with a scream "Use your mirror!" screamed her petrified bodyguard …— Alan Coren Fans in the mosh pit shook their fists and screamed her lyrics in unison.— Neal Karlen
2 : to call (something) to mind very strongly and clearly They may be a pain to carve, but few things scream Halloween quite like the iconic jack o'lantern.— Matt Juul There's something about Jane Austen novels, and especially Pride & Prejudice, that just screams fall reading to me.— Kerry Jarema



Definition of scream (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a loud sharp penetrating cry or noise
2 : a very funny person or thing

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for scream

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of scream in a Sentence

Verb She screamed when the door suddenly slammed shut. This is so irritating I could scream. The crowd screamed with excitement. He was dragged, kicking and screaming, from the room. He screamed at her to stop. Sirens were screaming in the distance. Police cars screamed down the street. Newspaper headlines screamed about the spike in crime. Noun She let out a piercing scream. that new comedy is a scream
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After the vehicles came to a stop, Lopez heard the S.U.V.’s driver scream for help. New York Times, "The G.O.P. Won It All in Texas. Then It Turned on Itself.," 4 May 2021 From sea to shining sea, there are plenty of places to enjoy a calming Ferris wheel, ride a classic wooden roller coaster, or scream your head off on a state-of-the-art thrill ride. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "These Are the Best Theme Parks in the United States," 26 Apr. 2021 True to form, each of the five fragrances have floral notes, but not all of them scream floral. Jihan Forbes, Allure, "Boy Smells Is Finally Launching Fragrance, and My Vanity Is Ready," 2 Mar. 2021 Having this character just scream random filmmakers’ names? Nate Jones, Vulture, "Talking to the Film Critic Who (Maybe) Inspired Malcolm & Marie," 25 Feb. 2021 This playful two piece has a pom pom trim design and comes in fun, tropical prints like pink flamingos and pineapples that just scream summer time. Leila Najafi, Travel + Leisure, "The 20 Best Women’s Swimsuits for Every Body Type," 22 Apr. 2021 The black and gold are perfectly complementary and scream Pittsburgh. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL uniform power rankings 2021: List gets refresh as Cincinnati Bengals reveal updated look," 19 Apr. 2021 Mammals often use screams as alarm signals, but humans also scream to communicate a variety of emotions, such as screaming with happiness or pleasure. Jv Chamary, Forbes, "Are Humans More Sensitive To Screams From Sex Than Fear?," 14 Apr. 2021 Expect thousands of exuberant miscreants to scream along to every word. Los Angeles Times, "44 concerts in SoCal (and one mudfest in Tennessee) you can get tickets for right now," 13 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun May let out a similar scream after striking out Victor Caratini with a 99-mph fastball to end the fifth with a runner on second. Los Angeles Times, "How many Dodgers relievers does it take to produce an epic collapse? Five," 26 Apr. 2021 At one point, several in the crowd let out a collective scream of relief. Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune, "At George Floyd Square, verdict relieves tensions of a long year," 20 Apr. 2021 There is a scene where Henry goes into a bathroom and stuffs paper towels down his throat to stifle a raging scream. Essence, "'Them: Covenant' Creator Little Marvin Talks Dismantling The 'American Dream'," 9 Apr. 2021 Much quieter—more a whisper than a scream—is an elliptical arch detail that Laplace borrowed from a nearby finca to improve on the lackluster ones at the house. WSJ, "An Idyllic Summer Retreat on the Mediterranean’s Most Laid-Back Isle," 24 Apr. 2021 Running from idle to redline fills the cabin with guttural chortles that turn to a sawing scream as the engine charges to 9000 rpm. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Leaves Us Breathless," 20 Apr. 2021 The scream and flex after Castellanos slid into home was born from Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford hitting Castellanos with a pitch earlier in the inning. Anthony Witrado, Forbes, "Nick Castellanos’ 2-Game Suspension Shows MLB Doesn’t Care To ‘Let The Kids Play’ After All," 5 Apr. 2021 Most then have to scale it back or modify due to the pandemic, making their decision to splash out on a single event all the more scream-worthy. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Netflix’s Marriage or Mortgage Is Maddening," 17 Mar. 2021 With his fists clenched and biceps flexed, Keldon Johnson let out a scream loud enough after an early first-half basket to shake the foundations of houses all the way to Pittsburgh. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Keldon Johnson gives Spurs something to shout about with Duncan-esque performance," 20 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scream.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of scream


12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a(1)


1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scream


Middle English scremen; akin to Middle Dutch schreem scream

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scream

Time Traveler for scream

Time Traveler

The first known use of scream was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for scream

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scream.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scream



English Language Learners Definition of scream

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to suddenly cry out in a loud and high voice because of pain, surprise, etc.
: to say (something) in a loud and high voice because you are angry, afraid, etc.
: to make a very loud, high sound



English Language Learners Definition of scream (Entry 2 of 2)

: a loud and high cry or sound
informal + old-fashioned : a person or thing that is very funny


\ ˈskrēm How to pronounce scream (audio) \
screamed; screaming

Kids Definition of scream

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cry out (as in fright) with a loud and high-pitched sound

Other Words from scream

screamer \ ˈskrē-​mər \ noun



Kids Definition of scream (Entry 2 of 2)

: a long cry that is loud and high-pitched But right then, there was this awful scream, and we saw a big wave of water coming toward us.— Jeff Kinney, Wimpy Kid

Comments on scream

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!