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

Definition of shriek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to utter a sharp shrill sound
2a : to cry out in a high-pitched voice : screech
b : to suggest such a cry (as by vividness of expression) neon colors shrieked for attention— Calvin Tomkins

transitive verb

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



Definition of shriek (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Synonyms for shriek

Synonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Freeport, Dave Mackey recorded video showing water and floating debris surging around his house as the wind shrieked outside. Anchorage Daily News, "At least 5 dead as Dorian triggers massive flooding in Bahamas," 2 Sep. 2019 There’s a quick shot of headstrong and independent Jo (Lady Bird’s Saoirse Ronan, reuniting with Gerwig) accidentally burning ladylike Meg’s hair as Meg (Emma Watson) shrieks in horror. Constance Grady, Vox, "The trailer for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women promises a focus on women’s ambition, not romance," 13 Aug. 2019 The exhibition includes a late 15th-century engraving by Martin Schongauer of Germany depicting St. Anthony tormented by shrieking demons that pelt him with clubs and pull at his clothing and hair. Steven Litt,, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019 For two years, the left and media have shrieked unproven allegations about Trump and collusion with Russia. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: Weaponizing the dead of El Paso and Dayton," 9 Aug. 2019 As the bats emerged, hawks shrieked and dove into the swarm to catch dinner. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Changing Climate Inside the World’s Largest Bat Colony," 6 Aug. 2019 Chavez was completely floored upon meeting the rapper, and shrieked in excitement before the two shared a hug. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Chance the Rapper Surprises March For Our Lives Speaker at WE Day: Exclusive Clip," 1 Aug. 2019 The player can then guide that light toward the shadowy monster in the distance while Kay shrieks in agony. Washington Post, "‘Sea of Solitude’ is a well-meaning misfire," 11 July 2019 Tires don’t shriek when somebody brakes to avoid an opossum transfixed by headlights in the middle of the road. Gena Steffens, Smithsonian, "The Snakes That Ate Florida," 11 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun By now, any remaining dogwhistles of marijuana legalization potentially creating unfettered cannabis access for teenagers should lower the volumes of their shrieks. Brendan Bures,, "Marijuana legalization discourages teenage use, study finds," 23 Aug. 2019 Any criticism of her, however remote or legitimate, unleashes shrieks of misogyny. John Kass,, "Column: Can Bernie Sanders’ authenticity sway Democrats?," 13 Sep. 2019 Few match the bombast of Arnab Goswami, whose brand of shriek show has launched a new network, Republic TV. The Economist, "When India’s government abuses power, the media cheer," 22 Aug. 2019 China's move earlier this month to allow its currency to depreciate—bringing shrieks of currency manipulation from President Donald Trump—has opened a new front. Alain Sherter, CBS News, "3 reasons the U.S. economy isn't set to fall off a cliff," 20 Aug. 2019 Disappointment from Dettori fans and excited shrieks from Deirdre backers bubble around the grandstands, but soon the genteel air settles and conversations resume. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Goodwood brings glorious end to English social season," 8 Aug. 2019 Then suddenly there was like a shriek from one of the rooms, and someone had discovered a crib, like a child's crib, filled with clowns. Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Plan a Trip Around Someone Else's Wedding: Women Who Travel Podcast," 6 Aug. 2019 Schaup, who has been fine until that point, starts to get up from a chair and shrieks, calling out for her husband, who is in another part of the room. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Dominican Republic resort deaths mystery: timeline," 25 May 2019 As Randy pantomimed a whipping, Darryl gave a shriek that must have startled all of Stamford. Tom Verducci,, "The Hard, Historic Roads That Lead to Baseball's Magic Number: .400," 8 Aug. 2019

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


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


1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shriek


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

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Time Traveler for shriek

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shriek

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Shriek.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for shriek


How to pronounce shriek (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shriek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make a loud, high-pitched cry
: to say (something) in a loud, high-pitched voice



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

: a loud, high-pitched cry or sound


\ ˈshrēk How to pronounce shriek (audio) \
shrieked; shrieking

Kids Definition of shriek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a loud high-pitched cry We shrieked with delight.
2 : to say in a loud high-pitched voice She shrieked my name.



Kids Definition of shriek (Entry 2 of 2)

: a loud high-pitched cry or sound

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More from Merriam-Webster on shriek

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shriek

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shriek

Spanish Central: Translation of shriek

Nglish: Translation of shriek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shriek for Arabic Speakers

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