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verb (used without object)
  1. to utter a loud, harsh cry, as a duck or other fowl when frightened.
  2. Informal. to complain loudly and vehemently.
verb (used with object)
  1. to utter or give forth with a squawk.
  1. a loud, harsh cry or sound.
  2. Informal. a loud, vehement complaint.
  3. the black-crowned night heron.See under night heron.

Origin of squawk

1815–25; blend of squall2 and hawk3
Related formssquawk·er, noun


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2. grumble, gripe, complain, yelp.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for squawked


  1. a loud raucous cry; screech
  2. informal a loud complaint or protest
  1. to utter a squawk or with a squawk
  2. (intr) informal to complain loudly
Derived Formssquawker, noun

Word Origin

C19: of imitative origin
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

Word Origin and History for squawked



1821, probably of imitative origin (cf. dialectal Italian squacco "small crested heron"). The noun is attested from 1850. Squawk-box "loud-speaker" is from 1945.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper