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screech

[skreech]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to utter or make a harsh, shrill cry or sound: The child screeched hysterically. The brakes screeched.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter with a screech: She screeched her warning.
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noun
  1. a harsh, shrill cry or sound: an owl's screech; the screech of brakes.
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Origin of screech

1550–60; variant of obsolete scritch to scream; akin to screak
Related formsscreech·er, noun

Synonyms

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1. See scream.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for screech

screech1

noun
  1. a shrill, harsh, or high-pitched sound or cry
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verb
  1. to utter with or produce a screech
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Derived Formsscreecher, noun

Word Origin

C16: variant of earlier scritch, of imitative origin

screech2

noun Canadian
  1. (esp in Newfoundland) a dark rum
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Word Origin

perhaps special use of screech 1
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 screech

v.

1570s, alteration of scritch (mid-13c., schrichen), possibly of imitative origin (cf. shriek). Related: Screeched; screeching. Screech-owl is attested from 1590s (scritch-owl is from 1520s).

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n.

1550s, from screech (v.). Earlier scritch (1510s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper