\ ˈskrēch How to pronounce screech (audio) \

Definition of screech

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a high shrill piercing cry usually expressing pain or terror
2 : a sound resembling a screech


screeched; screeching; screeches

Definition of screech (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to utter a high shrill piercing cry : make an outcry usually in terror or pain
2 : to make a shrill high-pitched sound resembling a screech also : to move with such a sound the car screeched to a stop

transitive verb

: to utter with or as if with a screech

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Other Words from screech


screecher noun

Synonyms for screech

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of screech in a Sentence

Noun With a loud screech, she smashed the plate against the wall. Verb I screeched when I saw the mouse. He kept screeching at the children to pay attention. “You can't do this to me!” she screeched.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Emilia-Romagna isn't known for its rosati, but beelining past its comfort food cities of Parma, Modena, and Bologna—known for screech-to-a-halt-worthy parmesan, lasagna, and sparkling red Lambruscos—is unthinkable. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Sep. 2021 There are several steps to the process, including drinking a shot of screech and kissing a cod fish. Francesca Street, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 The screech of an electric screwdriver echoed off downtown skyscrapers as a man peeled the plywood from the front entrance of a hotel. Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2021 Four Seasons is home to some 74 different wildlife species, including Peregrine falcons, Texas spiny lizards, Eastern screech owls and Mallard ducks. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 24 Aug. 2021 On July 25, police observed a Hyundai Sonata screech its tires and speed away from an intersection before the driver saw the police car. John Benson, cleveland, 18 Aug. 2021 Off Daniel tumbled into the pillows, with a delighted screech. Mary Carole Mccauley,, 18 Aug. 2021 The sound of fierce winds is interrupted by the occasional call of a brown eagle or screech of a hawk. Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2021 Nearby, check out the taxidermy specimens of seven of the 12 owls living in Plumas County, including barn, northern saw-whet, northern pygmy, western screech and burrowing owls. San Francisco Chronicle, 1 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If users are discouraged from using the network because of high fees, DeFi protocols would suffer and adoption could screech to a halt. Leeor Shimron, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2021 The iceberg could screech to a halt on the shallow underwater shelf that surrounds the island and not collide with dry land. Sarah Gibbens, Environment, 28 Dec. 2020 When this market breaks down, the entire economy can screech to a halt. Matt Egan, CNN, 7 Dec. 2020 As Guzman’s truck tires screech away, the officer tries to get up but realizes he is too badly hurt. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2020 But together on our road trip, my family and I ate gimbap with spirited abandon: while playing I spy, mountain peaks unzipping in the distance; or when my sister swerved the minivan to dodge a squirrel, causing both the tires and Umma to screech. Jennifer Hope Choi, Bon Appétit, 19 Aug. 2020 The system for swearing in new Americans screeched to a virtual standstill for months. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 4 June 2020 New registration also screeched to a halt, with few families willing to commit to the $5,200 annual tuition. Ron Kroichick,, 3 June 2020 Although travel has stopped and is only starting up again — slowly and in only a few destinations — the aftershocks of that screeching halt, brought on by the coronavirus, continue to reverberate. Sarah Firshein, New York Times, 25 May 2020

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


1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1577, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for screech


alteration of earlier scritch, from Middle English scrichen; akin to Old Norse skrækja to screech

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Time Traveler for screech

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The first known use of screech was in 1560

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Screech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for screech



English Language Learners Definition of screech

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a loud and very high cry that usually expresses extreme pain, anger, or fear
: a loud and very high sound



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

: to cry out or shout in a loud and very high voice because of extreme pain, anger, fear, etc.
: to make a loud and very high sound


\ ˈskrēch How to pronounce screech (audio) \
screeched; screeching

Kids Definition of screech

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make a high-pitched harsh sound
2 : to utter with a high-pitched harsh sound
3 : to cry out in a loud, high-pitched way (as in terror or pain)



Kids Definition of screech (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a high-pitched harsh cry the screech of an owl
2 : a high-pitched harsh sound the screech of brakes

More from Merriam-Webster on screech

Nglish: Translation of screech for Spanish Speakers


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