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ˈshrēk How to pronounce shriek (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈsrēk
shrieked; shrieking; shrieks

intransitive verb

: to utter a sharp shrill sound
: to cry out in a high-pitched voice : screech
: to suggest such a cry (as by vividness of expression)
neon colors shrieked for attentionCalvin Tomkins

transitive verb

: to utter with a shriek
shriek an alarm
: to express in a manner suggestive of a shriek


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: a shrill usually wild or involuntary cry
: a sound resembling a shriek
the shriek of chalk on the blackboard

Examples of shriek in a Sentence

Verb The birds were shrieking in the trees. She shrieked when she saw a mouse. Noun the shriek of the train's brakes
Recent Examples on the Web
Cellphone footage from the incident shows the beachfront pool deck descending into chaos as shrieking guests raced over, tried to help the couple, then discovered the danger of the hot tub water. CBS News, 19 June 2024 Controls are close by, but the overall layout is borderline infuriating, with slow response times through the central infotainment system and a driver alert system that beeped and shrieked every 20 seconds for one reason or another. Geoff Nudelman, Ars Technica, 4 June 2024
After last week's murder of his son and heir, King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) shrieks for revenge. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 24 June 2024 By Hannah Sampson Listen 9 min Share Comment Save Driving back to D.C. after a long weekend in New York in March, my husband and I were dreaming of a different kind of trip: no bathroom stops, no need to gas up, no shrieks from kids tired of their car seats, no traffic jams. Hannah Sampson, Washington Post, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for shriek 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shriek.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English shreken, probably irregular from shriken to shriek; akin to Old Norse skrækja to shriek

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shriek was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near shriek

Cite this Entry

“Shriek.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to utter a sharp shrill cry
: to cry out in a high-pitched voice


2 of 2 noun
: a sharp shrill cry

More from Merriam-Webster on shriek

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