\ 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
(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

Keep scrolling for more

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


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That giddiness doesn’t necessarily translate, though, to the common people on the other side of the screen. Leah Greenblatt,, "All-star murder mystery Knives Out is a bloody clever good time," 10 Sep. 2019 Most kids snuggled under beige blankets, eyes locked on the screen. Chabeli Herrera,, "She’s the only Bahamian working on the hurricane relief cruise. It just reunited her with her family," 7 Sep. 2019 Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel comes to the screen. Mark Feeney,, "Fall movies 2019: Dozens of titles coming soon to theaters," 6 Sep. 2019 Twitter: @techchronicle Samsung’s highly anticipated folding phone will go on sale Friday, after the original launch date was delayed by months because of embarrassing problems with the screen., "Samsung releases folding phone; Google, GM deal; WeWork IPO to be more wee?," 5 Sep. 2019 The most famous of these early devices, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, for instance, has been delayed following technical problems with the screen. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "Google releases Android 10: The top 8 ways your phone will improve," 3 Sep. 2019 Brookfield Properties Project Manager Mark Kelleher said that the screen would show things such as football games on weekends and movies., "Beachwood Planning Commission approves mall’s plans for covered walkway, outdoor gathering area," 28 Aug. 2019 The belt worked, but the screen was slow and the calibration was off. Christopher Elliott,, "Problem Solved: Her NordicTrack keeps freezing up," 23 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, captions at the bottom of the screen tell the story of how Boston, over the past 10 years, managed to pay off $222,817.26 in student debt, more than $75,000 of which was interest alone. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Lessons from a young professional who just finished repaying $222,817.26 of student loans," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To bridge this gap for service people, the U.S. government is on the hunt for effective ways to screen large populations for PTSD. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "A Blood Test Might One Day Mass Screen Military Personnel for PTSD," 10 Sep. 2019 The Stones fought to prevent release of the movie with the unprintable title; Frank won the right to screen it under restricted conditions. Karen Wada, Los Angeles Times, "Influential photographer Robert Frank dead at 94," 10 Sep. 2019 There are studies to digest, articles forwarded by your best friend on C-section rates to read, summits to attend on combating implicit bias, and doctors to screen for implicit bias. Helena Andrews-dyer, The Denver Post, "Finding the joy in black motherhood," 7 Sep. 2019 There are studies to digest, articles forwarded by your best friend on C-section rates to read, summits to attend on combating implicit bias, and doctors to screen for implicit bias. al, "I wanted to read an article about black motherhood that wasn’t a horror story. So I wrote it.," 6 Sep. 2019 Telluride is often the first fest to screen prize-winners from the most recent installment of the Cannes Film Festival. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "From “The Two Popes” to a Judy Garland biopic, the best films from the 2019 Telluride Film Festival," 5 Sep. 2019 Making matters more difficult, the HHS Inspector General released a separate report on Wednesday that found the government often failed to screen new clinicians and case workers who were being hired in a hurry to care for the influx of children. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "Government watchdog: Separated migrant children suffered PTSD, other mental trauma," 4 Sep. 2019 The 49-year-old Texas native and Austin alum has co-taught a script to screen course at the university since 2015. Petra Cahill, NBC News, "Hurricane Dorian skims Puerto Rico, Dem debate stage narrows & Prof. Matthew McConaughey? The Morning Rundown," 29 Aug. 2019 The company will certainly continue to make big movies with big stars and small cinemas will continue to screen them for Oscar eligibility. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "If Martin Scorsese Can’t End Netflix’s Battle With the Movie Chains, Who Can?," 29 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about screen

Statistics for screen

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for screen

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for screen



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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


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?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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