\ 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

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Synonyms for scream

Synonyms: Verb

howl, screech, shriek, shrill, squall, squeal, yell, yelp

Synonyms: Noun

hoot, knee-slapper, laugh, riot

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Examples of scream in a Sentence


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.


She let out a piercing scream. that new comedy is a scream
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At intersections, police officers and civilians worked together to direct traffic while firetrucks and ambulances screamed down side streets. James Barron,, "Power restored after failure leaves Manhattan’s West Side, and subway, in the dark," 14 July 2019 Video captured by screaming fans shows Starr, beaming in his signature sunglasses, as his drum set was wheeled out. Kim Willis, USA TODAY, "'I love you, man': Paul McCartney brings out Ringo Starr for a tour-closing Beatles reunion," 14 July 2019 Van Spronsen was escorted away through dozens of screaming protesters, the prosecutor wrote. Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, "Armed man throwing ‘incendiary devices’ at ICE detention center killed in officer-involved shooting, police say," 14 July 2019 At intersections, police officers and civilians worked together to direct traffic while fire trucks and ambulances screamed down side streets. James Barron, New York Times, "Power Restored to Manhattan’s West Side After Major Blackout," 13 July 2019 Made in a style last popular in the 1800s, the blend of malted and unmalted barley with rye imported from the English countryside provides a mouthfeel that screams vanilla cream, rounded out by mellow notes of clove and spice. Fortune, "5 Bottles That Will Put You at the Center of Irish Whiskey’s Renaissance," 13 July 2019 Every year, thousands of influencers, agents, managers, industry executives, and screaming teenage fans descend on the Anaheim Convention Center in search of the next big internet star. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "TikTok Stars Are Preparing to Take Over the Internet," 12 July 2019 New features introduced at the company’s partner conference earlier this year such as a pool-party game with Bitmoji avatars and more-wacky face filters aren’t exactly screaming grandma. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Snap Has an Age Limit," 11 July 2019 Kids or no kids, the iconic restaurant-adjacent playgrounds filled with screaming children, murky ball pits, and soaring structures made from colorful tubes are purposefully hard to miss. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Where Have the McDonald's PlayPlaces Gone?," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many survivors say the screams of dying people have stayed with them. Michael Hamad,, "The living survivors of the Hartford circus fire still carry the scars from the tragic day. Hear their stories in this interactive oral history.," 27 June 2019 Getty Images The excited screams of diehard fans of the MTV hit reality series The Hills could be heard around the world when the trailer for the 2019 reboot dropped late last month. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Who Is Audrina Patridge's Ex-Husband, Corey Bohan?," 24 June 2019 Made with soft foam that molds to most ear shapes, these earplugs are critical in drowning out the screams of that fussy baby two rows over. Rachel Tepper Paley, Condé Nast Traveler, "Everything You Need to Make Your Own Business-Class Worthy Dopp Kit," 20 June 2019 The volume of screams, shouts, and claps are truly the barometer for success, and have been throughout history — from Beatlemania to the Beyhive. Natalie Morin,, "From Beatlemania To The Beyhive, Here's What A Stan Looked like In Every Decade," 10 June 2019 But when the distinguished guests—including a rabbi, a West German ex-mayor, and an Israeli Nazi hunter—begin to speak, the theater fills with the sound of screams. Madeleine Schwartz, Harper's magazine, "Warm, Weird, Effervescent," 10 June 2019 The sounds of jubilant song gave way to those of automatic gunfire and the screams of the dying. The Economist, "Pro-democracy protesters are slaughtered in Khartoum," 6 June 2019 From inside her house, M heard a rattle of gunfire and a chorus of screams. Washington Post, "Silent pain: Rohingya rape survivors’ babies quietly emerge," 5 July 2018 Rather, Peterson listened to the din of screams of teachers and students, many of whom were dead or dying, and the blasts of Cruz’s repeated gunfire. Meryl Kornfield,, "Scot Peterson had no duty to stop school shooting, his attorneys say," 15 June 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for scream

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scream

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on scream

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scream

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scream

Spanish Central: Translation of scream

Nglish: Translation of scream for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scream for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scream

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