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 shrill (audio) , especially Southern  ˈsril-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for shrill

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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: Verb Earth smells and the pungency of privet and balsam were still acute at this hour, unmingled; the shadows were as bold as in a child’s picture book; swifts and house martins tracked across the pale sky overhead, shrilling in thrilled anticipation. Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, 21 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective What kind of man, several wondered, would marry a dumb, whiny, shrill feminist like this? Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, 2 Mar. 2021 But despite the shrill alarms, not all of society’s problems are caused by climate change – and the current climate change hammer costs a fortune but doesn’t pack much of a wallop. Bjorn Lomborg, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Though this agonizing weeklong ordeal reaches a shrill climax, the denouement feels rushed, opaque, leaving us only with more questions. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2021 Residents have likened the sound to a shrill whistling, a maddening screech, and — most colorfully — a screaming dinosaur standing on top of the building. Caroline Spivack, Curbed, 9 Apr. 2021 There was his black whistle, hanging around his neck on a lanyard — sharp, shrill and authoritative. Julie Bosman, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Feb. 2021 There was his black whistle, hanging around his neck on a lanyard — sharp, shrill and authoritative. New York Times, 21 Feb. 2021 Greenberg, more into shrill shrieks than polite chitchat, continues his coloratura expressions of outrage. Leah Garchik, SFChronicle.com, 15 Jan. 2021 Hearing them without describing them as shrill or hysterical has proved to be a separate, but equally daunting, task. Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And more than 30 years ago, the island’s air vibrated with the deafening shrill of thousands of chirping cicadas. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 27 May 2021 In lesser hands, Vicedo’s book could have grown shrill with outrage. Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2021 Waugh maintains barely restrained chaos throughout, which often tends toward the shrill. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2020 Shoppers casually meandered from store to store, and the shrill shouts of children could be heard echoing through the concourses of the Mall of America. Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune, 15 Aug. 2020 The dolphins were introduced to something unusual—either a scuba diver or a shrill noisemaker—and Díaz López found that each had a consistent reaction over time. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Apr. 2020 While Stephanie elicits much sympathy, Rena bounces from the empathetic, caring mother to a shrill, out-of-control woman who picks fights with anyone trying to help her. Oline H. Cogdill, sun-sentinel.com, 28 Oct. 2019 This is a shrill, tetchy, claustrophobic rock album sodden with record-biz pouting and only the dullest shades of pre-apocalyptic ennui. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2019 With the shrill of whistles breaking either the 8 a.m. or the 4 p.m. quiet on the various campuses, the start time for the respective teams, workouts have now taken on major urgency. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, 7 Aug. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shrill

Cite this Entry

“Shrill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shrill. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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