\ 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 Moving to place a tray of brownies in the backseat, wife Kristi Wade made her way to the passenger’s side – when a wild animal released a screech. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Man chucks bobcat after it attacks wife in driveway, surveillance footage shows," 20 Apr. 2021 Lonely Mountains: Downhill opens not with the screech of rubber but a jangling Alpen cowbell. Lewis Gordon, Wired, "Let Lonely Mountains: Downhill Take Your Breath Away," 19 Apr. 2021 Nichols says residents first began picking up the screech in January, apparently after some scaffolding was taken down. Caroline Spivack, Curbed, "A Brooklyn Building Is Screeching, We Asked an Acoustician Why," 9 Apr. 2021 The Usumacinta — where howler monkeys screech from overhanging trees, crocodiles lounge on sandbanks and jaguars prowl adjacent rainforest — is more than 1,000 miles from the mostly arid environs of the Rio Grande. Los Angeles Times, "The other Rio Grande: Central American migrants navigate jungle river en route to the United States," 23 Mar. 2021 Audio recordings of each bird's chirp, screech or song accompany the paintings. Marissa Fessenden, Scientific American, "Audubon's Birds Live On Long after His Death [Slide Show]," 17 May 2013 There was a screech of feedback as one priest struggled to mute his microphone, and some awkward waiting as another scrambled to point his camera toward his face rather than the painting of the Last Supper on the wall behind him. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, "With his mentors dying, a young Catholic priest tries to save his diocese from COVID-19," 14 Feb. 2021 The problem with that is that several scientists who study cicadas stepped up to note that this was almost certainly the screech of the Jamaican cricket. The Politics Of Everything, The New Republic, "Transcript: The Unsolved Mystery of Havana Syndrome," 3 Feb. 2021 Many of the Orange County residents who get their vaccine jabs at Disneyland will have gone for coronavirus testing at the Anaheim Convention Center, which, like convention centers across the country, saw traffic screech to a halt in March. Debra Kamin,, "Disneyland as a vaccination site? Airports as test centers? The travel industry pitches in," 15 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini, And Other Crypto Exchanges Must Embrace DeFi To Capture Growth," 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, "Huge iceberg breaking up off South Georgia Island is still a threat," 28 Dec. 2020 When this market breaks down, the entire economy can screech to a halt. Matt Egan, CNN, "Trump's Wall Street watchdogs leave a warning for the Biden team," 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, "LAPD officer’s body cam video shows suspect grabbing his gun and pistol whipping him," 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, "No Vacation Is Complete Without a Cooler Full of Gimbap," 19 Aug. 2020 The system for swearing in new Americans screeched to a virtual standstill for months. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, "Because of the pandemic, the US postponed citizenship ceremonies for months. That could keep thousands from voting in 2020," 4 June 2020 New registration also screeched to a halt, with few families willing to commit to the $5,200 annual tuition. Ron Kroichick,, "Will Bay Area’s private high schools survive the coronavirus pandemic? One has already closed," 3 June 2020 Although travel has stopped and is only starting up again — slowly and in only a few destinations — the aftershocks of that screeching halt, brought on by the coronavirus, continue to reverberate. Sarah Firshein, New York Times, "Help! One Company Refused to Refund Travelers More Than $100,000," 25 May 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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Screech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for screech



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

More from Merriam-Webster on screech

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for screech

Nglish: Translation of screech for Spanish Speakers

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