\ 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During her character’s meltdowns, often in response to slights and offenses to propriety, Ms. Harris deployed a screech that had the urgency of a hyena in its death throes. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 Think of the potential for cute flying squirrels, screech owls and tree frogs! Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 20 Apr. 2022 The public can still view the zoo’s screech owls, barn owls and tragopans because they are kept in enclosures where they are already separated from the public and other birds, Akron Zoo marketing and public relations manager Elena Bell said. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, 7 Apr. 2022 Which is why Russia’s decision to warn Japan that its de facto peace is at risk brought with it a screech on the diplomatic record player. Philip Elliott, Time, 23 Mar. 2022 Their high-pitched screech is another distinctive feature, Brady said. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Nov. 2021 Birch Aquarium is selling the naming rights to its Little Blue Penguins for $50,000 apiece to help underwrite a habitat for the seabirds, which tirelessly growl, squawk, screech and peep. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Feb. 2022 Yes, war is pulverized buildings, the screech of ambulances, blood, funerals. New York Times, 15 Jan. 2022 Before the crash, Castillo heard a screech and helicopters overhead. Christian Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 25 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Those who don't screech to a halt in time are immediately gunned down. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 30 Dec. 2021 Approaching a crossroads that could take your business in a very different direction can be overwhelming, and the fear of making the wrong choice can screech your momentum to a halt. Benjamin Laker, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 If users are discouraged from using the network because of high fees, DeFi protocols would suffer and adoption could screech to a halt. Leeor Shimron, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2021 The iceberg could screech to a halt on the shallow underwater shelf that surrounds the island and not collide with dry land. Sarah Gibbens, Environment, 28 Dec. 2020 When this market breaks down, the entire economy can screech to a halt. Matt Egan, CNN, 7 Dec. 2020 As Guzman’s truck tires screech away, the officer tries to get up but realizes he is too badly hurt. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2020 But together on our road trip, my family and I ate gimbap with spirited abandon: while playing I spy, mountain peaks unzipping in the distance; or when my sister swerved the minivan to dodge a squirrel, causing both the tires and Umma to screech. Jennifer Hope Choi, Bon Appétit, 19 Aug. 2020 The system for swearing in new Americans screeched to a virtual standstill for months. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 4 June 2020 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Screech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for screech


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on screech

Nglish: Translation of screech for Spanish Speakers


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