\ 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 In the crowd that night was former tennis star John McEnroe, whose stupefied expression after the play added to the euphoria of the moment, as did the screech by play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Two Giannis moments at Madison Square Garden on his way to superstardom," 5 Apr. 2020 So don’t expect to hear the growl of an overtuned V-8, the bark of an amplified exhaust, the screech of tires digging for grip. Stephen Williams, New York Times, "The Soundtrack to an Electric Car," 16 Apr. 2020 The jingle of the bell announcing customers was replaced with the screech of packing tape and the shuffling of online orders. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "She beat cancer, divorce and construction. Now coronavirus might shutter her NuLu business," 19 Mar. 2020 Fourteen volcanos of foliage and stone where strange clouds hold back the screech of a homeless bird. Hilton Als, The New Yorker, "Carolyn Forché’s Education in Looking," 30 Mar. 2020 There were squeals and screeches and lots of giggles. USA Today, "Cooped-up kids navigate a strange new play space," 24 Mar. 2020 Amid a deafening, horrific screech of rupturing metal, more than a million gallons of fuel spilled and exploded. Ian Austen, New York Times, "A Runaway Train Explosion Killed 47, but Deadly Cargo Still Rides the Rails," 16 July 2019 This is how the human race ends: with the shallow clang of metal on metal, a squalling screech, the heavy stomp and throb of percussion. Judy Berman, Time, "Grimes Tried to Make a Soundtrack for the End of the World. The Result Is Surprisingly Timid," 21 Feb. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But now that growth has screeched to a halt. China's two largest trading partners, the U.S. and the EU, accounted for approximately $1.4 trillion trade in goods and services with China in 2018, the latest year for which figures are available. Betsy Joles, NBC News, "In China, four decades of economic growth screeches to a halt," 14 May 2020 Williams was working to the repair a roof on a home nearby, and within minutes, her truck screeched into the hospital parking lot. Marina Starleaf Riker, San Antonio Express-News, "Birth in the time of coronavirus," 17 Apr. 2020 But the industry has also suffered massive disruptions as shelter-in-place orders have brought some projects screeching to a halt. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "How will the pandemic shape biotech in the months ahead? An industry analyst weighs in," 10 Apr. 2020 Valley hotels make tough decisions Travel and tourism has screeched to a halt throughout the Valley, in what is typically peak tourist season. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Study: Arizona could lose 81,984 jobs tied to hotel industry because of coronavirus fallout," 23 Mar. 2020 But carriers themselves aren’t the only air travel entities that have found themselves in dire financial straits: U.S. airports are also struggling to keep operations going now that passenger demand has practically screeched to a halt. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "It's Not Just Airlines—Airports Are Also Looking for Government Help," 18 Mar. 2020 It Podcast, Johnson teaches Mark Kiszla how to screech like a big, mean dinosaur. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kickin’ It with Kiz Podcast: How Alexander Johnson almost walked away from Broncos before becoming team’s breakout star of 2019," 4 Dec. 2019 Hip-hop, metal and country/western battle for supremacy across the aisle, while horror and action movies fill the cabin with earsplitting screams and screeching car chases. Elliott Hester, Los Angeles Times, "Biggest offender in failing to use headphones on a plane is a person named Mom," 1 Aug. 2019 All of this is just fodder for the screeching partisan minions, nothing else. David Harsanyi, National Review, "The Left’s Ugly Reaction to Hydroxychloroquine," 7 Apr. 2020

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

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Screech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 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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