screech

noun
\ 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

screech

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from screech

Verb

screecher noun

Synonyms for screech

Synonyms: Verb

howl, scream, shriek, shrill, squall, squeal, yell, yelp

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, SFChronicle.com, "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 In the first stage, called active learning, cells in different parts of the cortex — the outer layers of the brain — broadcast signals representing sensory information such as the screech of a seagull or the smell of the surf. Quanta Magazine, "Mental Leaps Cued by Memory’s Ripples," 22 Oct. 2014 The volume on the stereo grew louder, snapping Burl Ives's jolly croon into a scalding screech. Anonymous, Good Housekeeping, "I Had to Choose Between Safety and My Mother," 21 Dec. 2018 The moments immediately after the touchdown of an aircraft, where typically there will be clouds of smoke and a piercing screech will be given off on the runway, seems somewhat dramatic. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Looking to decorate your home? How about the nose of a Boeing 727 or a landing gear?," 29 July 2018 Read all about screech and Canada’s other attractions at http://tinyurl.com/ycfwdp8a. Phil Marty, chicagotribune.com, "Adventures in vegan eating, a Canadian bucket list and more," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To a lot of Americans, jazz means screeching solos and helter-skelter rhythms, even though that's just one small slice of the pie. Dallas News, "If Dallas vocalist Jazzmeia Horn is the new star of jazz, then why is her career such a struggle?," 16 Aug. 2019 Danny became a crook and a substance abuser; James now listens to screeching punk rock and exercises compulsively, to channel his violent rage. Noel Murray, latimes.com, "Reviews: Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista in ‘Escape Plan: The Extractors’; and more," 3 July 2019 Your car might whistle or screech, thump or groan, or decide to engage you in a game of charades with a performative shimmy. Mac Demere, Popular Mechanics, "11 Things Your Car Is Trying to Tell You," 2 Aug. 2019 Before the night is over, 'Zizou On T'aime' has been plastered across the Arc de Triomphe, and, upon the team's return to France, it is screeched by the welcoming crowds. SI.com, "Anatomy of a Headbutt: OTD in 2006 Zinedine Zidane Was Sent Off in the World Cup Final," 9 July 2019 At night coconut crabs scuttled across the roof to the sound of screeching metal. Ngm Maps, National Geographic, "Tortoises rule on this isolated island," 12 June 2019 And then, a mile away from my exit, with the blazing sun high in the sky, traffic came to screeching halt. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "A nightmare drive down the Pacific Coast Highway conjures childhood memories," 7 Aug. 2018 Rush-hour traffic screeched to a halt, angry horns blaring as relatives pleaded with the brother to come back. Alice Yin, chicagotribune.com, "Despite taunts and a gun pointed at them, family of slain teen carries on with march for justice," 22 July 2019 The video that blew up on Twitter and Instagram Saturday shows cars backed up on the Lodge behind several haphazardly parked vehicles while a Dodge car spins in tight circles in the middle of the freeway, tires screeching. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Arrest made, car impounded in Lodge reckless driving case," 1 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of screech

Noun

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1577, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for screech

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about screech

Statistics for screech

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for screech

The first known use of screech was in 1560

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for screech

screech

noun

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

screech

verb

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

screech

verb
\ 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)

screech

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on screech

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with screech

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for screech

Spanish Central: Translation of screech

Nglish: Translation of screech for Spanish Speakers

Comments on screech

What made you want to look up screech? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!