- a short, sharp, shrill cry; a sharp, high-pitched sound.
- Informal. opportunity; chance: their last squeak to correct the manuscript.
- an escape from defeat, danger, death, or destruction (usually qualified by narrow or close).
- to utter or emit a squeak or squeaky sound.
- Slang. to confess or turn informer; squeal.
- to utter or sound with a squeak or squeaks.
- squeak by/through, to succeed, survive, pass, win, etc., by a very narrow margin: They can barely squeak by on their income. The team managed to squeak through.
Origin of squeak
- a short shrill cry or high-pitched sound
- informal an escape (esp in the phrases narrow squeak, near squeak)
- to make or cause to make a squeak
- (intr ; usually foll by through or by) to pass with only a narrow marginto squeak through an examination
- (intr) informal to confess information about oneself or another
- (tr) to utter with a squeak
Word Origin and History for squeak by
late 14c., probably of imitative origin, similar to Middle Swedish skväka "to squeak, croak." Related: Squeaked; squeaking. The noun is from 1660s; sense of "narrow escape" is from 1822.
Idioms and Phrases with squeak by
Also, squeak through. Manage barely to pass, win, survive, or the like, as in They are just squeaking by on their income, or He squeaked through the driver's test. This idiom transfers squeak in the sense of “barely emit a sound” to “narrowly manage something.” [First half of 1900s] Also see squeeze through.