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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter with a screech: She screeched her warning.
  1. a harsh, shrill cry or sound: an owl's screech; the screech of brakes.

Origin of screech

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

Synonyms for screech

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

Related Words for screech

shout, shriek, yell, howl, squeal, outcry, shrill

Examples from the Web for screech

Contemporary Examples of screech

Historical Examples of screech

British Dictionary definitions for screech


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

Word Origin for screech

C16: variant of earlier scritch, of imitative origin


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

Word Origin for screech

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

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).


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper