\ ˈskrēch How to pronounce screech (audio) \

Definition of screech

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a high shrill piercing cry usually expressing pain or terror
2 : a sound resembling a screech


screeched; screeching; screeches

Definition of screech (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to utter a high shrill piercing cry : make an outcry usually in terror or pain
2 : to make a shrill high-pitched sound resembling a screech also : to move with such a sound the car screeched to a stop

transitive verb

: to utter with or as if with a screech

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Other Words from screech


screecher noun

Synonyms for screech

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of screech in a Sentence

Noun With a loud screech, she smashed the plate against the wall. Verb I screeched when I saw the mouse. He kept screeching at the children to pay attention. “You can't do this to me!” she screeched.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With a toot of its horn and a metallic screech, the Alishan Forest Railway rumbles out of Chiayi, a midsize city in southern Taiwan. Chris Schalkx, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Road Trip Through Taiwan's Hot Springs and Tea Plantations," 7 Feb. 2020 Police closed their investigation when the trail went cold, speculating that a loud attic fan or water pump on the fritz might have been to blame for the disappearing screech. Erin Blakemore, Popular Science, "Seven mysterious sounds science has yet to solve," 27 Jan. 2020 If heebie-jeebies are screeches and creaks, soft things are a major chord, resonant with well-being, reassurance, forgiveness, and even—what the hay—love. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "The Unbearable Softness of Engineered Fabrics," 21 Jan. 2020 The hiss of the blowtorch and the screech of nearby trains were its soundtrack. Dianne Solis, Dallas News, "An artists’ community crops up around Dallas’ unofficial graffiti park, and the neighborhood wants to keep them both," 10 Jan. 2020 The young girl jumped from her chair and gave a long screech before covering her mouth in shock. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "‘Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!’ Michelle Obama surprises D.C. elementary school with big gifts.," 11 Dec. 2019 This ivory-white bird will perch at the top of a dead tree, high in the montane forests of northern Brazil, and gape open his mouth to issue a grating, hair-raising screech. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Listen: This could be the loudest bird on Earth," 21 Oct. 2019 The sounds of beastly screeches and splashing water came from the bathroom. Ellyn Laub,, "Beware bike attire hazards | Opinion," 21 Nov. 2019 But the early internet created a nostalgia machine, and people are preserving its birth screeches, as in this medley. Whet Moser, Quartz, "A series of mysterious bleeps and bloops defined the early days of the internet," 15 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tires screeched, and before the chase left the area around Paul Brown Stadium, security personnel said the vehicle being pursued dodged a spike strip intended to halt the vehicle. Pat Brennan,, "Notebook: Is there help on the way at cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals?," 20 Oct. 2019 Red Death at Songbyrd: What sonic frequencies does a bruising quartet born out of the D.C. hardcore scene look to harness while expanding beyond its screeching instrumental assaults and piercing howls? Washington Post, "12 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend," 2 Jan. 2020 There would no doubt be screeching car chases and explosions, a dirty cop, drug deals. Peter Hartlaub,, "‘Sister Act’ transformed Noe Valley into a den of sin. Here’s the back story," 1 Dec. 2019 The quiet of a dark street in a residential South Florida neighborhood is broken by the ear-piercing sound of screeching tires as the headlights of a spinning car come into view. Doug Phillips,, "Video shows a car going fast as it crashes into a mailbox, leaving the residents furious," 21 Nov. 2019 The silence was abruptly broken by the screeching cry of my kettle. Mandy Lee, Bon Appétit, "As Protesters March in Hong Kong, I Cook to Escape," 7 Oct. 2019 In June, the Detroit group called TSNLS participated in #SundayFunday and blocked traffic on the Lodge Freeway while a car spun in tight circles in the middle with its tires screeching. Bisma Parvez, Detroit Free Press, "Video shows cars blocking traffic, doing donuts on I-94," 23 Dec. 2019 And the girls were screeching, the teachers were groaning. Ed Masley, azcentral, "How five friends from Phoenix came to rule the world as Alice Cooper," 12 Dec. 2019 Carnival music jangled as the wide-eyed wooden horsies screeched round and round. Wired, "Angry Nerd: Oh My God, Netflix, Please Chill Out!," 19 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'screech.' 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 screech


1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1577, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for screech


alteration of earlier scritch, from Middle English scrichen; akin to Old Norse skrækja to screech

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Time Traveler for screech

Time Traveler

The first known use of screech was in 1560

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Statistics for screech

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Screech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for screech


How to pronounce screech (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of screech

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a loud and very high cry that usually expresses extreme pain, anger, or fear
: a loud and very high sound



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

: to cry out or shout in a loud and very high voice because of extreme pain, anger, fear, etc.
: to make a loud and very high sound


\ ˈskrēch How to pronounce screech (audio) \
screeched; screeching

Kids Definition of screech

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a high-pitched harsh sound
2 : to utter with a high-pitched harsh sound
3 : to cry out in a loud, high-pitched way (as in terror or pain)



Kids Definition of screech (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a high-pitched harsh cry the screech of an owl
2 : a high-pitched harsh sound the screech of brakes

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More from Merriam-Webster on screech

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for screech

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with screech

Spanish Central: Translation of screech

Nglish: Translation of screech for Spanish Speakers

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