Try Our Apps


WATCH "Lumbersexual"


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for shrilling
Historical Examples
  • The strings were forced back and back, wailing an ineffective protest against the shrilling advance of the woods.

    The Patient Observer Simeon Strunsky
  • "I've really had a wonderful time," the lavender stocking was shrilling.

    Erik Dorn Ben Hecht
  • It was hoped that his shrilling trumpet should be heard, not to announce a show, but to sound a charge.

  • Later, the shrilling wind from the East surrendered to the booming of the equinox.

    Guy and Pauline Compton Mackenzie
  • Outside, the wind was shrilling at the windows and around the eaves, and the rain was playing on the roof.

    The Golden Road Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Later, the shrilling wind from the east surrendered to the booming of the equinox.

    Plashers Mead Compton Mackenzie
  • There was a tremendous to-do for a few minutes, with Paula shrilling and tugging.

    The Sheriff of Badger George B. Pattullo
  • Sara's voice, shrilling a little with anxiety, came to him out of the darkness.

    The Hermit of Far End Margaret Pedler
  • It lost in a measure its former acute and shrilling pitch, and mellowed into a more harmonious and pleasant sound.

    Abraham Lincoln William Eleroy Curtis
  • It was a true bird-day, and his heart, uprising like the larks, was shrilling.

    The Promise of Air Algernon Blackwood
British Dictionary definitions for shrilling


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for shrilling



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for shrill

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for shrilling

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for shrilling