\ 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

The victim was able to scream out for help and was helped out by others who also called the authorities. al, "Man attempted to rape woman in her car at McDonald’s, Mobile police say," 5 Sep. 2019 Stevens screamed as the water level crept up inside her car, which was stranded in floodwater. Anchorage Daily News, "‘I don’t know why you’re freaking out,’ a 911 dispatcher told a woman minutes before she drowned," 31 Aug. 2019 Finally, a guard appears at the doorway, takes half a step inside and goes back out while Sanchez appears to continue to scream, the video shows. Scott Mclean, CNN, "A Denver woman is suing after giving birth in a jail cell. The sheriff's department says it acted by the book," 30 Aug. 2019 Grace screams near the end, in case viewers didn’t get it. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Ready or Not Puts a Comic Twist on a Deadly Game of Hide-and-Seek," 22 Aug. 2019 Haney is alleged to have screamed, threatened, bullied, and harassed gymnasts on a regular basis, according to a USA Gymnastics email. Scott Reid, The Denver Post, "Maggie Haney, coach of Olympic and world champion gymnasts, under investigation," 20 Aug. 2019 The show is hosted by Orlando Soria (pronounced: Or-LAWN-do, and that made me fully scream). Ali Barthwell, Curbed, "I watched a full day of HGTV," 14 Aug. 2019 Archie, a 10-year-old with autism spectrum disorder who cannot yet speak, screams when asked to eat vegetables. J. Ganz, The Conversation, "5 tips for parents to build communication skills with children with autism spectrum disorder," 8 Aug. 2019 The social media that brought exposure to creative ideas without traditional gatekeepers now overexposes trends at lightning speeds while rewarding whichever bullies and copycats are willing to scream loudest into the void. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "The restaurant boom in metro Detroit is over. Here's why," 25 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Onlookers gave off excited screams as the great white emerged and chomped on the whale. Fox News, "Great white shark spotted off Massachusetts coast feeding on dead whale carcass," 3 Sep. 2019 Glendale officers responded to a residence near 55th and Orangewood avenues just before 8 p.m., Thursday after a caller heard a neighbor scream for help, police said. Chris Coppola, azcentral, "Glendale man arrested in roommate's stabbing death, police said," 30 Aug. 2019 Lowe asked the sub about Granados-Diaz, an 18-year-old senior, when the door opened and a mop-haired kid in glasses and a black trench coat burst in, setting off screams from the students. Greg Bishop,, "‘Active Shooter!’ How Life Put Keanon Lowe Where He Was Supposed to Be," 29 Aug. 2019 Emma Roberts has established herself as one of her generation’s premiere scream queens, thanks to her roles in American Horror Story, Scream 4 and Scream Queens itself. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "The 32 Most Anticipated Movies of Fall 2019," 7 Aug. 2019 Riviera Does any piece of clothing scream summer like a white shirtdress? Erin Cunningham, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Vintage-Inspired Outfits to Wear on Vacation This Summer," 1 Aug. 2019 There are screams, laughter, and a lot of happy tears. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood Surprised an Elementary School Choir and the Video Will Make You Cry," 4 Aug. 2019 Many screams, including Russcol’s, again failed to trigger an alarm — indicating that clipping had not made a significant difference in our results. Jack Gillum, ProPublica, "Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students," 25 June 2019 Many screams, including Russcol’s, again failed to trigger an alarm—indicating that clipping had not made a significant difference in our results. Klint Finley, WIRED, "A Device to Detect 'Aggression' in Schools Often Misfires," 25 June 2019

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

11 Sep 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

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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