\ 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

Turn this one up and set us loose on the dancefloor, because this track screams Saturday night. Katie Bain, Billboard, "Hayden James, Elderbrook, Benny Benassi & More: The Six Best Dance Tracks Out Today," 14 June 2019 Bonsib said Beckwitt screamed for help from neighbors after the fire broke out and risked his own safety in a failed attempt to rescue his friend from the blaze. Michael Kunzelman, Fortune, "Wealthy Stock Trader Convicted of Murder Won't Get New Trial," 13 June 2019 The sounds of women screaming can be heard, followed by several more shots. NBC News, "Man sentenced to three life terms without parole for killing three Muslims," 13 June 2019 Michael Haskins, 39, has been charged with first-degree rape and assault in an incident that Prince George’s County police say was stopped by a witness who heard the woman screaming for help. Lynh Bui, Washington Post, "Police arrest rape suspect, say he was stopped by witness who heard screams for help," 13 June 2019 This bustling Chatham stop serves exceptionally moist chicken with a screaming hot jerk sauce. Nick Kindelsperger,, "The 5 best jerk chicken dishes on Chicago’s South Side," 13 June 2019 In the Galar region where the new games take place, pokémon battles are held in massive stadiums, filled with thousands of screaming fans. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Even without Animal Crossing, Nintendo has an incredible holiday lineup," 12 June 2019 When Trump screams socialism, all of his hypocrisy will not be lost on the American people. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Read: Bernie Sanders defines his vision for democratic socialism in the United States," 12 June 2019 Maybe this will stop screaming children and parents from clogging up local malls. Sarah Brookbank,, "Build-a-Bear Workshop's Pay Your Age is back. Here's the catch," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Ford has said that Kavanaugh groped her, tried to undress her, and covered her mouth to suppress her screams during a high school party, while one of Kavanaugh’s friends was present. German Lopez, Vox, "Fox News’s Chris Wallace on the Kavanaugh hearing: “This is a disaster for the Republicans”," 27 Sep. 2018 In several of the calls in the minutes after the shooting began at 10:05 p.m., all that can be heard are screams and gunfire. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "911 Calls From Las Vegas: Screams Amid Gunfire," 6 June 2018 Jon Burge was bouncing between torture chambers like the conductor of an orchestra, but the only sounds that were coming out were screams. Megan Crepeau,, "Closing arguments cap months of hearings into alleged torture by ex-police Cmdr. Jon Burge," 5 Apr. 2018 There are even more screams — muffled cries that the world hardly hears, in part because violence in Syria has become so commonplace and cease-fires ignored. Washington Post, "In Syria’s Ghouta, shelters are tombs for the living," 4 Mar. 2018 The only things filling the gym after that were deafening screams mixed with a few Roll Tide shouts. Adam Coleman, Houston Chronicle, "Episcopal's Jaylen Waddle signs with Alabama," 8 Feb. 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

19 Jun 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).


to take the place or position of

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