\ˈskrēn \

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

(2) : screen pass

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 \ 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


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.


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

Port officials are still pursuing a related proposal to allow dozens of large TV-screen kiosks on the waterfront that may include video ads. David Garrick,, "Public outcry prompts port to shelve looser policy for building wrap ads," 13 July 2018 The original cast is set to return for the big-screen version of the hit TV series. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Downton Abbey' Movie With Series Cast Officially a Go," 13 July 2018 Fans have been clamoring for a Black Widow solo film ever since the character made her big-screen debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Devan Coggan,, "Cate Shortland to direct Marvel's Black Widow solo movie," 13 July 2018 In response, the air-conditioning industry says cooling chemicals constitute a small fraction of the cost of new equipment and that, like with flat-screen televisions, that expense is falling over time. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Republicans can't agree on this climate deal brokered by Obama," 12 July 2018 Xiaomi pioneered full-screen smartphones and owns more than 6,000 patents–53% of them outside of China. Charlie Cambell/beijing, Time, "Lei Jun Wants to Be China’s Answer to Steve Jobs. But Trump’s Trade War Is Getting In His Way," 12 July 2018 Schumer and Evans have worked closely to create wardrobes for the actress’s on-screen characters, as well as her red carpet looks. Jillian Ruffo,, "Amy Schumer Denies Pregnancy After Her Clothing Line Reveal Photo Sparks 'Bump' Speculation," 12 July 2018 Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers, about a mind-boggling case of triplets separated at birth, has posted incredible per-screen averages in its first two weeks of release. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What’s Driving Documentaries to Box-Office Success?," 11 July 2018 Visitors to the black box theater will encounter a large single-screen projection, with the actors alternating first-person accounts of harrowing experiences escaping Syria or fighting as a child soldier in Angola. New York Times, "New Triennial Offers Artists the Canvas of Cleveland," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Grin and bear it — then promptly sign up for an expedited-screening program before your next flight. Dawn Gilbertson, azcentral, "Airport security: TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. Clear," 11 July 2018 Toxicologists today unveiled a digital chemical safety screening tool that could greatly reduce the need for six common animal tests. Vanessa Zainzinger, Science | AAAS, "New digital chemical screening tool could help eliminate animal testing," 11 July 2018 But who set up an elaborate, selective cable package that excluded HBO and BBC America but subscribed us to half a dozen soccer-screening channels? Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Confessions of a World Cup Widow," 15 June 2018 People’s Daily, China’s largest newspaper, split-screened the image alongside one of a meeting that President Xi Jinping held that same day. Li Zhou, Vox, "It’s the photo memed around the world.," 11 June 2018 Consular Movie Club is a new film screening series presented by the Consulate General of Mexico at the Mexican Center for Cultural and Cinematic Arts in Westlake. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week," 28 May 2018 Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s annual Italian Film Weekend screens four films from May 18 to 20. Susan Dunne,, "Four Films, Wine Dinner Part of Wadsworth's Italian Film Festival Weekend," 12 May 2018 Newborn screening programs save lives, prevent serious injury to thousands of infants each year, and shield affected families from out-of-pocket costs. Robert Moy, STAT, "Delays in adding new newborn screening tests harm babies, families," 30 Apr. 2018 The canine tale is scheduled to screen at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14, on the northeast lawn of downtown’s Lake Eola Park. Anne Dunlap,, "Free movie screening of 'Isle of Dogs' at Lake Eola Park," 13 July 2018

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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Statistics for screen

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for screen

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

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More Definitions for screen



English Language Learners Definition of screen

: 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 \

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 \

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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Comments on screen

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


one that holds something together

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