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[skweel] /skwil/
a somewhat prolonged, sharp, shrill cry, as of pain, fear, or surprise.
  1. an instance of informing against someone.
  2. a protest or complaint; beef.
verb (used without object)
to utter or emit a squeal or squealing sound.
  1. to turn informer; inform.
  2. to protest or complain; beef.
verb (used with object)
to utter or produce with a squeal.
Origin of squeal
1250-1300; Middle English squelen; imitative
Related forms
squealer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for squeal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There came a squeal of amazement from Aggie, a start of incredulity from Garson.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • When I squeal, Andy, it'll be when there's nothing but the voice left.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • I'll not be trapped this way by her and let her off without a squeal.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • My friend, you get your hands on him, and I'll squeal on him till I'm blue in the face.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • She did not squeal nor shudder, but sat regarding it with gentle pride.

    Four Girls and a Compact Annie Hamilton Donnell
  • London might squeal for reprisals, but Boveyhayne never squealed.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • There was a squeal, and Mr. Green rolled forward into the room.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • Suddenly his breath exploded in what was almost a squeal of delight.

    Such Blooming Talk L. Major Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for squeal


a high shrill yelp, as of pain
a screaming sound, as of tyres when a car brakes suddenly
to utter a squeal or with a squeal
(intransitive) (slang) to confess information about another
(intransitive) (informal, mainly Brit) to complain or protest loudly
Derived Forms
squealer, noun
Word Origin
C13 squelen, 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
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Word Origin and History for squeal

c.1300, probably of imitative origin, similar to Old Norse skvala "to cry out" (see squall (v.)). The sense of "inform on another" is first recorded 1865. The noun is attested from 1747.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for squeal



  1. (also squeel) An informer; rat, snitch, stool pigeon: He was working on a case with a squeal, and he knifed him (1750+)
  2. (also squeak) A complaint to the police: cop at stationhouse took the squeal/ The young cops who had caught the squeal didn't know what to do (1908+)


To inform; rat, sing, squawk (1825+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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