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shrill

[shril] /ʃrɪl/
adjective, shriller, shrillest.
1.
high-pitched and piercing in sound quality:
a shrill cry.
2.
producing such a sound.
3.
full of or characterized by such a sound:
shrill music.
4.
betraying some strong emotion or attitude in an exaggerated amount, as antagonism or defensiveness.
5.
marked by great intensity; keen:
the shrill, incandescent light of the exploding bomb.
verb (used with or without object)
6.
to cry shrilly.
noun
7.
a shrill sound.
adverb
8.
in a shrill manner; shrilly.
Origin of shrill
1300-1350
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shriller
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The sound was repeated, but louder, clearer, shriller than before.

  • His voice lifted until it was its shriller, more natural falsetto.

    Once to Every Man Larry Evans
  • The landlady grew all the shriller at that, and silenced my mother impatiently.

    The Promised Land Mary Antin
  • There were voices, too, of shriller intonation, that might have proceeded from the throats of women.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • It is a kind of lowing, but shriller, and not near so loud as that of the European Ox.

  • A shriller note was struck by some feathered Daphnis piping to his Chloe.

    Across the Equator Thomas H. Reid
  • Her voice, shriller than its wont, raged at her predicament.

    Moor Fires

    E. H. (Emily Hilda) Young
  • Nearer and nearer rolled the battle and louder and shriller grew its note.

    Before the Dawn Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • Stronger and shriller grew the wind, and stronger and shriller was its warning.

    The Great Sioux Trail Joseph Altsheler
British Dictionary definitions for shriller

shrill

/ʃrɪl/
adjective
1.
sharp and high-pitched in quality
2.
emitting a sharp high-pitched sound
verb
3.
to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a shrill tone
4.
(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 shriller

shrill

adj.

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.).

shrill

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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