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[shril] /ʃrɪl/
adjective, shriller, shrillest.
high-pitched and piercing in sound quality:
a shrill cry.
producing such a sound.
full of or characterized by such a sound:
shrill music.
betraying some strong emotion or attitude in an exaggerated amount, as antagonism or defensiveness.
marked by great intensity; keen:
the shrill, incandescent light of the exploding bomb.
verb (used with or without object)
to cry shrilly.
a shrill sound.
in a shrill manner; shrilly.
Origin of shrill
1300-50; Middle English shrille (adj., v.); akin to Old English scrallettan to sound loudly; cognate with German schrill (adj.), schrillen (v.); compare Old Norse skrīll rabble
Related forms
shrillness, noun
shrilly, adverb
outshrill, verb (used with object)
unshrill, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shrilled
Historical Examples
  • A cold wind off the Sierra shrilled through clattering streets.

    Rosinante to the Road Again John Dos Passos
  • Ingrow shrilled, “Tickle him, prick him, pink him till he drinks!”

    The Lady of Loyalty House Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • Even elderly matrons and greybeards with a foot in the grave screeched and shrilled their joy in the spectacle.

    Jerry of the Islands Jack London
  • "Una was eating of the man's piece," she shrilled as she held the fragment aloft.

    B. C. 30,000 Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • She brought with her an atmosphere of long-dead beefsteak, chops and onions, and she shrilled for an answer to her question.

    New Faces Myra Kelly
  • Insects hummed and shrilled, or whirred like a tiny orchestra.

    A Little Girl in Old Quebec Amanda Millie Douglas
  • The voices, the young loud clear voices of Gerda and of Kay, shrilled down from the garden, and Esau yapped in answer.

    Dangerous Ages Rose Macaulay
  • "Five hundred and fifty," shrilled Ayoub's voice above the general din.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • "This day's work will cost you a pretty penny, Messers Look and Sproul," she shrilled.

  • He took the pipe in hand and turned it over and shrilled it at his lip.

    Gilian The Dreamer Neil Munro
British Dictionary definitions for shrilled


sharp and high-pitched in quality
emitting a sharp high-pitched sound
to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill tone
(transitive) (rare) to cause to produce a shrill sound
Derived Forms
shrillness, noun
shrilly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: probably from Old English scralletan; related to German schrill shrill, Dutch schrallen to shriek
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 shrilled



late 14c., schrylle "high-pitched, piercing" (of the voice), probably related to Old English scralletan "to sound loudly" and of imitative origin (cf. Low German schrell, German schrill "piercing, shrill"). Related: Shrillness; shrilly (adv.).


"to sound shrilly," c.1300, imitative (see shrill (adj.). Related: Shrilled; shrilling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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