\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

Sharp Most interesting about the Aquos is its 5.2-inch screen. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "If you think the Pixel 3 XL is ugly, take a look at the double-notch Sharp Aquos R2 Compact," 15 Nov. 2018 But can your screens be damaging to your skin, too? Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "How Your Phone's Blue Light Could Be Damaging Your Skin, According to Derms," 19 Oct. 2018 Some fans were happy to have Leno back on their screens, but others were not thrilled. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "'Last Man Standing' Fans Have a Lot of Feelings About Jay Leno's Appearance on the Show," 15 Oct. 2018 Venturi and Brown devised a museum that honored football in its most natural environment, that is to say, on the screen. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Masterpieces of Robert Venturi, a postmodern architecture icon," 20 Sep. 2018 But in the midst of all of this, Delta has gone the other direction—not just holding steady with its current seat-back screens, but going out and intentionally installing more. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Delta Defies Trend, Keeps Adding Seat-Back Screens to Planes," 20 Aug. 2018 When the first one popped up, the numbers nearly leapt off my screen. Amy Paturel, Discover Magazine, "The Science Behind Coincidence," 17 Aug. 2018 The robot can also communicate with people who speak all languages through its LED display screen and non-verbal interactions, Mashable reported. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "This Travel Robot Assistant Will Carry Your Bags and Show You to Your Gate," 12 July 2018 Meanwhile, Sharp Objects focuses on cutting, a specifically female form of self-harm (one 2017 study showed that girls are three times as likely to self-harm as boys), and one that Noxon point out has often been elided from our screens. Anna Silman, The Cut, "Sharp Objects," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The notice will then appear immediately below the post, with Weibo playing no role in screening or approving it. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Four ways the internet changed the midterm elections," 7 Nov. 2018 For example, Houserie provides tools for screening tenants like background checks, credit checks, and eviction histories, but nothing once the tenant is actually in the rental unit. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Online property management tools are moving the landlord-tenant relationship to the internet," 7 Nov. 2018 Snuggle up under the stars every Monday evening for screening on the fire deck. Rachel Waldman, Vogue, "7 Exclusive Social Clubs Where Non-Members Can Stay the Night," 17 July 2018 And in the meantime, surgeons are bettering our odds by screening to evaluate patients’ propensity for clots, encouraging the use of compression garments during and after surgery, and prescribing blood thinners when necessary. Jolene Edgar, Allure, "Life in Plastic: A Complete Guide to the "Mommy Makeover"," 16 July 2018 But on the whole, elite college and universities are delivering a clear verdict: Most no longer believe an essay score is useful or essential in screening applicants. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "Princeton drops requirement that prospective students take SAT or ACT essay test," 5 July 2018 The rates of screening right now under the age of 50 are negligible. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "Colon and rectal cancer screenings should start at 45, new guidelines say," 30 May 2018 At Kansas City, rooms under the terminal where baggage is screened and stored before flights are so small that luggage piles up, slowing down the airline, Mr. Sisneros says. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "Airports Are Building, and Vying for Business, More Than Ever," 14 Nov. 2018 Second, the public is more aware of this condition, increasing the possibility of affected kids being screened and diagnosed. Fox News, "ADHD diagnoses may be rising in US," 31 Aug. 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

6 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on screen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with screen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for screen

Spanish Central: Translation of screen

Nglish: Translation of screen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of screen for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about screen

Comments on screen

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