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[shreek] /ʃrik/
a loud, sharp, shrill cry.
a loud, high sound of laughter.
any loud, shrill sound, as of a whistle.
verb (used without object)
to utter a loud, sharp, shrill cry, as birds.
to cry out sharply in a high voice:
to shriek with pain.
to utter loud, high-pitched sounds in laughing.
(of a musical instrument, a whistle, the wind, etc.) to give forth a loud, shrill sound.
verb (used with object)
to utter in a shriek:
to shriek defiance.
Origin of shriek
1560-70; earlier shrick, N variant of shritch (now dial.), Middle English schrichen, back formation from Old English scriccettan; akin to shrike
Related forms
shrieker, noun
shriekingly, adverb
shrieky, adjective
outshriek, verb (used with object)
1, 5. scream, screech. 5. See scream. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shriek
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Woe to the hearts that heard, unmoved,The mother's anguish'd shriek!

    The Liberty Minstrel George W. Clark
  • And you may shriek and scream and no one will know it more than if you did not.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • Then my faculties were unchained, and a shriek broke from my cold lips.

  • Stuart shook him violently and shouted above the shriek of the wind.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • He has to go very slowly, and even then you can hear the poor things groan and shriek with the agony of being moved.

    The Liberty Girl Rena I. Halsey
British Dictionary definitions for shriek


a shrill and piercing cry
to produce or utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill piercing tone
Derived Forms
shrieker, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably from Old Norse skrækja to screech1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shriek

16c. variant of scrycke (c.1200), from Old Norse skrækja "to screech" (see screech), probably of imitative origin. Related: Shrieked; shrieking. The noun is attested from 1580s, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shriek



  1. An exclamation point; bang, shout (1864+ Print shop)
  2. istilled and concentrated heroin; black tar (mid-1980s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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shriek in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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