shrill

verb
\ ˈshril How to pronounce shrill (audio) , 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 How to pronounce shrilly (audio) , 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

Bands like the Pixies, the Lemonheads and Big Dipper were all making smart pop songs that were buried, to different degrees, under lumbering bass lines, jarring dynamics and shrill guitars. John Adamian, courant.com, "The captivating Kristin Hersh bringing her ’80s aesthetic to Space Ballroom," 14 June 2019 Five, academia, rather than focusing on education, became politicized as a shrill agent of cultural transformation — while charging more for less learning. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?," 13 June 2019 Five, academia became politicized as a shrill agent of cultural transformation rather than focusing on education — while charging more for less learning. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Why are Western middle classes revolting against the elites?," 13 June 2019 Unlike the traditional configuration with a single coil in the bridge, this humbucker doesn't ever sound shrill. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "The New Fender Strat Still Reigns Supreme," 27 Apr. 2017 Angry women are stigmatized and ste reo typed: shrill wife, crazy ex-girlfriend, feminazi. Longreads, "Demonology: A Woman’s Right to Fury," 10 June 2019 Nowadays the cry would be taken as a deodorant advertisement, but in that distant past, serving underarm—while providing shrill warning at the same time—was a form of bad sportsmanship cleverly disguised to look like good sportsmanship. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "50 Parting Thoughts From the 2019 French Open: Rafa, Barty and So Much More," 9 June 2019 Then came Pam Tanowit’z Batók Ballet (another world premiere), which gave the audience something to think about with its plucky, shrill music (a string quartet named FLUX). Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "The New York City Ballet Starts Its Spring Season With Two World Premieres," 4 May 2019 In fact, her high-pitch shrill and hilarious post-performance comments are so famous that last year's contestants even attempted their best impressions at the end of the season. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "'So You Think You Can Dance' Season 16 Is Going to Look Totally Different Than Last Year," 21 May 2019

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 How to pronounce shrill (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on shrill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shrill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shrill

Spanish Central: Translation of shrill

Nglish: Translation of shrill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shrill for Arabic Speakers

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