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90s Slang You Should Know


[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 shrillest
Historical Examples
  • The call came to his ears in the shrillest of tones, and was followed instantly by the crash of breaking branches.

    With the Dyaks of Borneo F. S. Brereton
  • The one that has the shrillest voice and can scream the loudest is most successful.

    The Complete Essays of C. D. Warner Charles Dudley Warner
  • The shrillest note of a Terrestrial piccolo is to them so profoundly low that it cannot be heard.

    Triplanetary Edward Elmer Smith
  • Sara saw him coming and screamed her shrillest and savagest at him.

  • The servant girls voice at its loudest and shrillest followed him along the corridor.

    Bliss, and Other Stories Katherine Mansfield
  • Ronnie was waving his little hat and shouting the shrillest of cheers, and Mrs. Trevellyan was clapping her best.

    The School by the Sea Angela Brazil
  • But when I had at last moved myself out of his Line, he cried in his shrillest voice, “She is vanished; she is dead.”

    Flatland Edwin Abbott Abbott
  • The ear seizes the most unseizable sounds in the midst of the shrillest noises.

  • And they had scarcely passed through the gate when Henrietta began to clamor in her shrillest tones.

    The Tale of Henrietta Hen Arthur Scott Bailey
  • The women's tongues were the worst, their voices the shrillest, the things they said the ones that stuck in the memory most.

    Missy Miriam Coles Harris
British Dictionary definitions for shrillest


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 shrillest



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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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