\ 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 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 Angry chants were lost amid the screech of ambulance sirens. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, "Iraqi protests broaden; violent crackdown spirals," 6 Oct. 2019 The screech will only escalate in pitch and intensity. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "A New Book Argues That Trump Is Television in Human Form," 4 Oct. 2019 The engine emitted an ear-shattering screech as the steam was released. Alexa Buechler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Train enthusiasts gather to see the world's largest steam engine arrive at Wauwatosa's Butler Yard," 25 July 2019 The late '90s was a time when connecting to the internet meant hearing the screech of a dial-up connection, and downloading files called for a level of patience that feels completely foreign two decades later. NBC News, "From Korean dramas to Filipino sitcoms, Asian Americans lead the way on streaming," 16 Aug. 2019 First there was dial-up internet — the modem screech that anyone who went online in the 1990s remembers. Sophia Kunthara,, "Most internet service providers are gone. Sonic has survived — and thrived," 26 July 2019 Sailing across the heavy-metal spectrum, Luhrs tacked too close to the trebly screech of Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha and not close enough to the Luciferian growl of High on Fire’s Matt Pike. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summerfest 2019: Chicago, Third Eye Blind and more of the best and worst from the side stages on Day 4," 29 June 2019 The screech of a Democratic Party swerving hard to the left. Vera Bergengruen, Time, "The First Debate Showed How Far to the Left Democrats Have Moved," 27 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When wooing a female, a male screeches right into her face at 125 dB, about the loudness of speakers at a rock concert. National Geographic, "Can elephants sway an election?," 24 Oct. 2019 Zippy, tiny cars screech down the narrow side streets, somehow dodging cars parked along the side of the road and, well, me. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "Sometimes the next frontier to discover is in your own hometown," 17 Oct. 2019 Several long, moody minutes pass in The Lighthouse’s opening scenes with no human sound — only wind, water, and the screeching caws of a few lonely seagulls. Leah Greenblatt,, "Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe dance macabre in masterful drama The Lighthouse," 17 Oct. 2019 Strangely enough, though, its screeching U-turn on the trucks IPO is still the right thing to do. Chris Bryant | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Welcome to Volkswagen, Where Nothing Makes Sense," 14 May 2019 All this to say, my fashion purchases came to a grinding, screeching halt. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "How Having a Baby Ended My Fashion Obsession," 28 Aug. 2018 Anbang’s buying spree, funded by the sale of high-risk, high-yielding investment products back home, thus came screeching to a halt; and along with HNA and Dalian Wanda Group Co., the company was forced to unwind its purchases of flashy assets. Washington Post, "China’s Fire Sale of Trophy Assets Is No Bargain," 18 Sep. 2019 The only thing more memorable than the shows — think screeching noise rock paired with projected drone strike footage — was the walk back to your car, past eerie warehouses in a forgotten part of the city. Dylan Owens, The Know, "With Mission Ballroom, Denver finally has the concert venue it deserves," 8 Aug. 2019 Sparks flew again at a screeching event, where visitors must kiss a fish to become honorary Newfoundlanders. Nick Maslow,, "Husband and Wife Who Met While Stranded Because of 9/11 Reveal the Lesson of Their Love Story," 11 Sep. 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

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Screech.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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