shrill

verb
\ˈshril, especially Southern ˈsril\
shrilled; shrilling; shrills

Definition of shrill 

(Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to utter or emit an acute piercing sound

shrill

adjective

Definition of shrill (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : having or emitting a sharp high-pitched tone or sound : piercing

b : accompanied by sharp high-pitched sounds or cries shrill gaiety

2 : having a sharp or vivid effect on the senses shrill light

3 : strident, intemperate shrill anger shrill criticism

shrill

noun

Definition of shrill (Entry 3 of 3)

: a shrill sound the shrill of the ship's whistle

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Other Words from shrill

Adjective

shrill adverb
shrillness noun
shrilly \ˈshril-lē, especially Southern ˈsril- \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for shrill

Synonyms: Verb

howl, scream, screech, shriek, squall, squeal, yell, yelp

Synonyms: Adjective

high-pitched, piping, screeching, shrieking, squeaking, squeaky, treble, whistling

Antonyms: Adjective

bass, deep, grave, low, throaty

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Examples of shrill in a Sentence

Verb

the mud-splattered bystanders were shrilling with outrage at the inconsiderate motorist

Adjective

the shrill sound of a policeman's whistle

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The harsh hawking permeating from speaker boxes, shrill voices barking political speeches in a static loop. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award runner-up: "Fluid Mechanics" by Mabel Yu," 2 June 2018 It’s too easy for politicians looking for a boogeyman to think of reporters as the shrill pundits arguing on TV. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "I’m feeling like a kid in America after the shootings of my fellow journalists," 28 June 2018 One problem is that the liberal humor elite is increasingly shrill in its insistence that jokes be funny, or at least mildly amusing. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Swaggy P goes one joke over the line," 25 June 2018 After hearing Der Führer's shrill voice blaring forth from public loudspeakers and glimpsing a Nazi party meeting in a parlor at their hotel, Victor resolved to leave Europe. Daniel De Vise, Chicago Reader, "How two Belgian boys became the youngest kids to bike across the U.S.—in 1935," 21 June 2018 Please get out of the way!’ Shaw-Asquith’s voice was shrill. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The geopolitics of the afterlife get messy in the new sci-fi spy novel Summerland," 17 June 2018 The acidity was a bit shrill, the finish a touch bitter. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "The Surprising Truth About the Price of Rosé," 24 May 2018 Surrounded by toxins Juana Leilani recalls the shrill whoops from the chemical alarms that kept sounding as Scud missiles landed around them in Saudi Arabia at the start of the war. Bill Lambrecht, San Antonio Express-News, "Gulf War Illness," 12 May 2018 Tutton was visibly moved during his first mini solo spot, but each member received his own distinct timbre of shrill adulation during the group intros. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 4: In Real Life, Kaleo, Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and more," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The shrills first arose when the record-signing refused teammate Edinson Cavani the opportunity to make history by not allowing him to take a penalty against Olympique Lyon. SI.com, "Concerns About Neymar's Long Term PSG Future as Brazilian Finds Appeasing Parisians Challenging," 24 Jan. 2018 Inside a lobby of a downtown Tuscaloosa hotel, the shrill of a phone ring echoes. Rainer Sabin, AL.com, "How the coach who followed Bear Bryant still has his fingerprints on Alabama," 29 Aug. 2017 Inside are piles of shrill and whining piccolo petes, neon flame-spouting blazing rebels and mounds of sparklers. Alex Harris, miamiherald, "Under the white tents, fireworks salespeople have big dreams for the money they make," 3 July 2017

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

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1589, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shrill

Verb

Middle English; probably akin to Old English scrallettan to resound loudly — more at skirl

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Time Traveler for shrill

The first known use of shrill was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for shrill

shrill

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shrill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make a very loud, high-pitched sound

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

shrill

adjective

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

: having a very loud, high-pitched sound

: loud and difficult to ignore but often unreasonable

shrill

verb
\ˈshril \
shrilled; shrilling

Kids Definition of shrill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a high-pitched usually piercing sound

2 : to say in a loud high-pitched voice “Will!” a voice shrilled, and Mary came flying up the drive.— Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising

shrill

adjective
shriller; shrillest

Kids Definition of shrill (Entry 2 of 2)

: having a high-pitched usually piercing sound a shrill whistle

Other Words from shrill

shrillness noun
shrilly \ˈshril-lē \ adverb She spoke shrilly.

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