\ ˈskrēn How to pronounce screen (audio) \

Definition of screen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a protective or ornamental device (such as a movable partition) shielding an area from heat or drafts or from view
2 : something that shelters, protects, or hides: such as
a : a growth or stand of trees, shrubs, or plants
b : a protective formation of troops, ships, or planes
c : something that covers or disguises the true nature (as of an activity or feeling) his geniality is just a screen
d(1) : a maneuver in various sports (such as basketball or ice hockey) whereby an opponent is legally impeded or the opponent's view of the play is momentarily blocked
3a : a perforated plate or cylinder or a meshed wire or cloth fabric usually mounted and used to separate coarser from finer parts
b : a system for examining and separating into different groups
c : a piece of apparatus designed to prevent agencies in one part from affecting other parts an optical screen
d : a frame holding a usually metallic netting used especially in a window or door to exclude pests (such as insects)
4a : a flat surface on which a picture or series of pictures is projected or reflected
b : the surface on which the image appears in an electronic display (as in a television set, radar receiver, or computer terminal) also : the information displayed on a computer screen at one time
5 : a glass plate ruled with crossing opaque lines through which an image is photographed in making a halftone
6 : the motion-picture medium or industry


screened; screening; screens

Definition of screen (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to guard from injury or danger
2a : to give shelter or protection to with or as if with a screen
b : to separate with or as if with a screen also : to shield (an opponent) from a play or from view of a play
3a : to pass (something, such as coal, gravel, or ashes) through a screen to separate the fine part from the coarse also : to remove by a screen
b(1) : to examine usually methodically in order to make a separation into different groups
(2) : to select or eliminate by a screening process
(3) : to test or examine for the presence of something (such as a disease) patients were screened for hepatitis
4 : to provide with a screen to keep out pests (such as insects)
5a(1) : to present (something, such as a motion picture) for viewing on a screen
(2) : to view the presentation of (something, such as a motion picture)
b : to present in a motion picture

intransitive verb

1 : to appear on a motion-picture screen
2 : to provide a screen in a game or sport

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Other Words from screen


screenable \ ˈskrē-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce screenable (audio) \ adjective
screener noun

Choose the Right Synonym for screen


hide, conceal, screen, secrete, bury mean to withhold or withdraw from sight. hide may or may not suggest intent. hide in the closet a house hidden in the woods conceal usually does imply intent and often specifically implies a refusal to divulge. concealed the weapon screen implies an interposing of something that prevents discovery. a house screened by trees secrete suggests a depositing in a place unknown to others. secreted the amulet inside his shirt bury implies covering up so as to hide completely. buried the treasure

Examples of screen in a Sentence

Noun Don't sit too close to the screen or you'll get a headache. A pop-up ad appeared on the screen. When I go to the movies, I like to sit close to the screen. Verb A committee will screen candidates for the job, but the final hiring decision will be made by Ms. Brown. We screen the kids' music so that we can approve what they listen to. We'll be screening his latest film in two weeks.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Others have expressed concerns that the proposal means too much screen time for students, especially those in the early grades. Washington Post, "Pr. George’s school system previews its online learning plan," 29 July 2020 Gibbs, who majored in math at the University of Georgia and holds a master’s degree in engineering management, follows the news but tries to limit screen time by reading a good book, typically history, philosophy or leadership. Sig Christenson,, "At Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, pilot training is still essential, but different in COVID era," 6 July 2020 Few directors who have spent as much screen time in the future have taken as relentlessly dim a view of the prospect. David Roth, The New Yorker, "How “Starship Troopers” Aligns with Our Moment of American Defeat," 6 July 2020 This BenQ lamp is serious about powerful and steady illumination in workspaces where lots of screen time or document review takes place. Popular Science, "The best modern desk lamps for your home office," 3 July 2020 The good news is your favorite streaming service and cable channels are ready dominate your screen time with some old favorites and the new, new. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, "7 TV Shows And Movies We’re Watching In July," 1 July 2020 What better way to honor the ideals of the United States Saturday than to spend some screen time with John Lewis? Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture critic Julie Hinds at Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "'John Lewis: Good Trouble' arrives just in time to be your Fourth of July go-to movie," 1 July 2020 Justin Hartley, who shared screen time with Stallone in Kevin's war-movie story line, would love to welcome Stallone's Expendables costar. Dan Snierson,, "Bruce Willis, Judi Dench, and Matt Damon on This Is Us actors' guest-star wish list," 29 June 2020 Plus, the contestants from each season have continued to be mostly white — especially the ones given the most screen time. Lia Beck,, "Great First Step, The Bachelor — Now Make It Matter Long Term," 19 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In mid-June, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moved northern Michigan to Phase 5 of the state's reopening plan, the Pines was able to screen movies for the first time since mid-March. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Will movie theaters reach a 'new normal' in 2020? 2021? Answer lies with COVID-19 pandemic, not studios," 31 July 2020 The film will screen at TIFF alongside directorial offerings from Berry's acting peers, such as Viggo Mortensen's Falling and Regina King's One Night in Miami. Joey Nolfi,, "See Halle Berry as Bruised MMA fighter in first look at her directorial debut," 30 July 2020 And by law, hospitals must screen and stabilize any patient who arrives. Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, "‘All the Hospitals Are Full’: In Houston, Overwhelmed ICUs Leave COVID-19 Patients Waiting in ERs," 10 July 2020 The Attorney's Office will screen the case to determine whether the trooper at the center of the shooting will face any criminal charges. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix police complete Dion Johnson investigation; case sent to prosecutor for review," 9 July 2020 The inmate was tested as part of a new effort to screen every inmate entering Alaska’s jails and prison system for the virus as cases spike in the state. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "New widespread testing for inmates yields positive COVID-19 case at Fairbanks jail," 8 July 2020 The rapid testing of 6.5 million people was part of a campaign to screen the city’s entire population, not in response to a new outbreak. New York Times, "Corrections: July 8, 2020," 7 July 2020 Using artificial intelligence to screen a vast computer database, Anixa has identified four compounds that could become coronavirus drugs. J.d. Morris,, "Why a coronavirus vaccine won’t end the pandemic by itself," 13 July 2020 Bus drivers will self-screen each morning, and buses will be cleaned and sanitized after each route. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "Central Indiana schools release district-specific COVID-19 plans for fall," 11 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'screen.' 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 screen


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1611, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for screen


Middle English screne, from Anglo-French escren, from Middle Dutch scherm; akin to Old High German skirm shield; probably akin to Sanskrit carman skin, kṛnāti he injures — more at shear

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Time Traveler for screen

Time Traveler

The first known use of screen was in the 14th century

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Statistics for screen

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Screen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for screen


How to pronounce screen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of screen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the usually flat part of a television or computer monitor that shows the images or text : the part of a television or computer that you look at when you are using it
: a large, flat, white surface on which images or movies are shown
: the art or profession of acting in movies



English Language Learners Definition of screen (Entry 2 of 2)

: to examine (people or things) in order to decide if they are suitable for a particular purpose
: to do a test on (someone) to find out if that person has or is likely to develop a disease
: to do a test on (a person's blood, urine, etc.) to find out if the person has been using an illegal substance


\ ˈskrēn How to pronounce screen (audio) \

Kids Definition of screen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a frame that holds a usually wire netting and is used to let air in but keep pests (as insects) out a window screen
2 : a curtain or wall used to hide or to protect
3 : the flat surface on which movies are projected
4 : the surface on which the image appears in an electronic display (as on a television set or computer terminal)
5 : a network of wire set in a frame for separating finer parts from coarser parts (as of sand)


screened; screening

Kids Definition of screen (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to hide or protect with or as if with a curtain or wall … the graveyard … was screened by a stand of evergreens.— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder
2 : to separate or sift with a network of wire set in a frame
3 : to look at carefully to select as suitable The committee screened job candidates.
\ ˈskrēn How to pronounce screen (audio) \

Medical Definition of screen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to test or examine for the presence of something (as a disease) screen patients for prostate cancer a test to screen donor blood for HIV and hepatitis C— Penni Crabtree


Medical Definition of screen (Entry 2 of 2)

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